Money swayed elections, Palu breaks his silence

The leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II, has congratulated Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and his ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) for their election victory.

Palusalue offered his well wishes yesterday during a press conference where he ended his silence since Friday’s election where he lost his seat and his party was crushed by the H.R.P.P.

Palusalue, the former Safata M.P. who had also served as a Cabinet Minister under the H.R.P.P government, did not hide his disappointment in the result of the election.

“The truth is I’m extremely disappointed. As a party, the result is not what we expected and we are very sad,” he said.

Palusalue said he was more disappointed for Samoa as the country now no longer has an opposing voice in Parliament.

“Without an opposition, we are now a one party state,” he said. “In any democracy, there has to be an opposition party. In my opinion, the number of members should be irrelevant. There must still be a recognised opposition party.” 

The law requires a party to have at least 8 members to be recognised as an opposition by Parliament. As it stands today, the Tautua Party only has three members in Parliament. 

Asked where the Tautua Samoa Party went wrong in their election campaign, Palusalue said: “We were prepared. We did all that we possibly could during the campaign. We thought we had some very good policies but we were shocked by the outcome.”

Without wanting to sound like a sore loser, Palusalue said the people of Samoa know what happened on Friday.

“I can tell you there was a lot of bribery during the elections,” he said. “There was a lot of money that had been floated around. It was the use of money where the election result was determined. That’s where it went wrong.”

Palusalue would not single out any candidate in particular but he said a number of wealthy candidates used their cash to lure voters.

He said there would be a lot of petitions in Court and that’s where everything will be revealed.

Palusalue who was defeated by an H.R.P.P newcomer at Safata West said he is considering a petition but would not give the details.

Another former Member of Parliament for SalegaSisifo, AfualoDr. Wood Salele, clamed that some candidates bought votes with money and boxes of chicken.

“We are preparing some court petitions but we will have to wait until the official count is over,” he said.

 Thinking back to last Friday, Afualo said: “It was a black day for the opposition party.”

The Tautua Samoa entered the last Parliamentary sitting with 13 members. They now only have three standing members.

 “This was unexpected,” said Afualo. “It came as a shock to all of us.” 

Asked about the Tuatua’s future plans, Afualo said they would not give up.

“Even if there is only one member in Parliament, the Tautua Samoa Party will still be here.”

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