A requirement under the Electoral Act that a candidate must satisfy a three-year monotaga period will be removed if the Tautua Samoa Party wins the General Elections next week.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer yesterday, Tautua Leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II said matai should be given the right to run if they want to.
Such a requirement is a hindrance, he said.
“It’s not important,” Palusalue said about the monotaga.
“What is crucial is they are matai serving their families but to have them serve strictly for three years because of the election, I do not accept this because it prevents them from exercising their rights to participate in the country’s election.”
Palusalue said the law was all part of the government’s ploy to eliminate candidates from running for the Tautua Samoa Party.
“They had passed the electoral act amendment on these requirements because they wanted to limit the chance of opponents taking them on.”
The Leader pointed to the nine eligibility challenges heard before Court this week.
All of the challenges involve senior Cabinet ministers, Associate Ministers and the Caretaker, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
“It’s quite sad to see that all of the challenges brought to Court were from senior Cabinet ministers,” said Palu.
“The main reason of the challenges is to prevent their opponents. Why not let them run. What are they scared of?
“It’s sad to see that those lining up to sue others for their eligibility are the very senior ministers going against people from their constituencies that just want a chance to exercise their right to be a candidate.
“They have used the law to hide behind preventing the rights of these citizens and matai.”
Turning to the Prime Minister, Palusalue said he was shocked to see Tuilaepa take his opponent to Court.
“It just shows that he (Tuilaepa) was afraid of his opponent,” Palusalue said.
“Why didn’t he just let him run and run as it’s his right as a matai from Saleapaga?
“It is not the first time Tuula had wanted to run.”
Palusalue also pointed to the Speaker of the House taking “a woman candidate to Court.”
“This is an interesting one,” he said. “While we pass a legislation to promote more women in Parliament yet he goes back to Court and takes these measures to prevent a woman from running. It doesn't make sense.”
Palusalue said he would hope the Court considers the rights of candidates to run.
Deputy Leader, Aeau Peniamina Leavaise’eta, supported Palusalue.
He said he was quite disappointed to see that those taking challenges to Court were those with senior positions in Parliament.
“The Prime Minister abandoned all his duties as Prime Minister to appear in Court to stop his opponent,” said Aeau.
“Its doesn’t look good for us M.Ps. We are trying to do something that prevents our people from exercising their rights… so we will make that change (if we come back).”