P.M. laughs off health concerns, stands by "calling"

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said he was “ready to kick the bucket” if the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) caucus had appointed someone else to lead them into the General Election, next year,

The 75-year-old who has been the Prime Minister for 21 years and counting said he would have been quite happy to support whoever the party had chosen.

“I have been ready to retire," Tuilaepa said.

"The problem is that it is my calling (to lead the party and the country) and that is something that I cannot deny. I am worried to retire when I have a calling from God."

Asked about his age and the prospect that if he returns as the Prime Minister next year, he would be 80-years-old in office, Tuilaepa laughed and said his heart is strong and he is as fast as a bullet.

“My constituents are happy that I will continue serving the constituency," he said. "I am unsure [whether another candidate] is running from the same county. I did not attend the meeting (last weekend) and this is to ensure that the chiefs of the village can speak freely.”

He said the opportunity was given to the Lepa Village Council to decide on their own free will.

“I only found out on Saturday the [Village Council] was happy with me.”

On Tuesday, Tuilaepa was unanimously reappointed to lead the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) into next year's General Elections.

 “It has always been the bylaws of the [H.R.P.P.] since Tofilau’s time that we vote for the leaders twice during our term," Tuilaepa said. 

“The first time is during the campaign season and second vote is to elect the leader of the party for the five year tenure.

"Even though my five years has not ended, I felt the need to go through this meeting immediately and the [party] re-elected me.” 

The Prime Minister said 43 members attended their caucus meeting and the decision was unanimous. 


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