By-election won't impact woman M.P. Fa'aulusau
The by-election for the Gagaifomauga No. 3 constituency will have no impact on the seat jointly held by the Member of Parliament, Fa'aulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers.
Another Gagaifomauga No. 3. M.P., La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, will contest a by-election after his seat was declared vacant by the Speaker of the Parliament.
But the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Matthew Lemisio, told the Samoa Observer that the Fa'aulusau holding the constituency would not be affected by the seat being declared vacant.
“[The] honourable Fa’aulusau is the ‘additional Member’ of Parliament in accordance with [a new amendment guaranteeing women’s representation in Parliament to the] Constitution,” he said.
Fa'aulusau made history last election when she entered Parliament as an “additional” M.P. as the result of a constitutional amendment that required Parliament to have five female members in Parliament.
According to the constitution, such Members’ seats are unaffected in the case of a by-election that declares vacant a seat held jointly by an “additional” M.P:
“If the seat of an Additional Member becomes vacant, it shall [...] be filled by the woman candidate [if any] who has the next highest number of votes at the last election or general election”.
Faimalo concluded: “So, the by-election for Gagaifomauga No.3 has no impact on [...] Fa’aulusau’s seat”.
The by-election is slated for the end of August, after La’auli verbally resigned from Parliament in what was later taken by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to be a binding statement.
In announcing his resignation, La’auli said he accepted the report.
Fa'aulusau, a member of the governing Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.), was La'auli’s only opponent for the Gagaifomauga No. 3 Constituency in the 2016 General Election.
She was defeated by the former Speaker and Cabinet Minister, who became the “official” M.P. for the constituency.
But Fa'aulusau became the first M.P. to be recognised as the 50th member of the Legislative Assembly in 2016.
She also became the first female candidate to enter Parliament as a result of a Constitutional amendment that required Parliament to have at least five female Members of Parliament.
"It's just that it's sad to see what happened to La'auli and how things unfolded for him,” she said in an interview.
“I always believed that we would always work together in Parliament and represent the seat [of Gagaifomauga] because he is the official representative.