The lead in terms of the General Election result preliminary count has changed in three constituencies, according to the latest update provided by the Office of the Electoral Commission yesterday.
One of them sees the caretaker Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Fa’amoetauloa Faale Tuumalii losing first place to former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti.
The Acting Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, said Nafoitoa won by 92 votes at Gagaemauga No. 3.
Another change is former Associate Minister, Tusa Misi Tupuola being defeated by Aumua Isaia Lameko at Falealili West.
“Aumua won from special votes,” said Faimalo.
He could not confirm by how much but assured that the final count and results will be ready the end of this week.
The last confirmed change is at Fa'asaleleaga No. 1 where Sili Epa Tuioti has regained the lead from Pauli Ivan Williams.
According to Faimalo, the final count was to have been completed last night.
This will then have to be endorsed by the Head of State before it is published some time this weekend.
Asked about reports that some ballot papers were lost, Faimalo explained that they might have been misplaced.
“There were six informal ballots from Faleata West which we are waiting for a report about them,” he said.
“It doesn’t have any impact on the final result because they are informal. The boxes (of ballot) were opened in front of the police but we suspect that the D.R.O might have misplaced the papers…if it was special votes it might have an impact and change to the results but it wasn’t.”
Now that the election is almost out of the way, Faimalo also commented on claims of votes being bought by boxes of chicken and money.
The Acting Electoral Commissioner said it was an insult to suggest that everyone was bribed when they voted.
“I’m sure there were a lot of people out there who didn’t vote for a box of chicken and $100tala,” he said.
“It’s almost an insult and disappointing from the perspective of a voter and administrative.
"We hope that the law will catch up with them and make them answer for their actions but we still believe that the majority of people who voted last week did so on their own free will.”
Faimalo admits that it doesn’t mean bribery doesn’t exist in Samoa. He said they have tried to address this issue through awareness programmes.
He acknowledged the hard work from the office through the election period and partners like UN Women, National Council of Women, Samoa Ala Mai and S.U.N.G.O.
As for petitions, it has to be done within 10 days after the O.E.C office publicises the official results.