Aopo to decide on by-election candidate

The village council of Aopo will finalise their decision this week on whether they will nominate a candidate to contest in the Gagaifomauga No. 3 by-election or support their former M.P. La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt. 

This was confirmed by village mayor, Mailata Tavita, in a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer. He said the village council is scheduled to meet again before the end of the week to finalise their decision. 

“We haven’t decided yet,” he said.  “The village council will meet again on Wednesday or Thursday…”

The seat for Gagaifomauga no3 was declared vacant by Speaker of the House, Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi last month following a verbal resignation by La’auli in the Parliament.

La’auli accepted the decision from the Speaker despite not presenting a written resignation, as required by the Constitution in order for the seat to be declared void. 

In a previous interview, La’auli said the villages of Sasina, Fagaee and Letui have thrown their support behind him for the by-election. 

He said the village of Aopo was yet to meet and decide if they have a candidate or to support him. 

The village mayor of Aopo was also asked about reports that the village had a potential candidate for the by-election to compete with La’auli. 

“I cannot confirm that now,” said Mailata. 

“At the moment we do have a representative that is current in Parliament, Fa’aulusau Rosa. 

“But a final decision will be made after the village meeting this week.” 

Fa’aulusau Duffy Stowers is the additional M.P. for Gagaifomauga no3 and is from the village of Aopo. 

She was the first woman M.P. to secure her seat under the new Constitution amendment to allow for a 10 per cent female representatives in the Legislative Assembly. 

The nomination period for candidates to contest in the Gagaifomauga no3 closes on Friday this week. 

La’auli said he has yet to register his nomination with the Electoral Office.

The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio confirmed that there are 1445 registered voters for the constituency as of the temporary closure of the roll last Friday. 

Faimalo said there are 176 registered in Gagaifomauga no3 that are residing in Upolu. 

From that number, there are 193 of them who are 65 years and over that eligible for special poll including three people with disability. 

He could not confirm at this point the number of people working in essential services. 

"There are a number of voters in their late 80s and early 90s," said the Commissioner when asked about the eldest person on the electoral roll.    

Staff from the Electoral Office will be in Savai'i on Thursday and Friday this week for the nomination that closes on Friday. 

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