H.R.P.P.'s "ups" game plan; denies jitters
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi unveiled an election strategy to trim Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) candidates to unite its supporter but denies the party is rattled by the opposition.
“We have to be smart about this otherwise our candidate will lose during election," Tuilaepa said on Friday as the H.R.P.P. held a meeting to discuss election strategy at their headquarters in Mulinu'u.
"We cannot let that happen, we must consider this strategy. In the end what is the use of seven candidates running together and end up losing [due to the splitting of votes]?”
But the Prime Minister denied the tactic to avoid fielding multiple candidates in single seats meant the party of Government felt challenged by other parties in the race or that it had previously been over confident.
Under the Prime Minister's edict, the obligation to whittle down the field of H.R.P.P. candidates will not be centrally issued but fall on candidates themselves.
“The candidates from each respective constituency should meet, consult and resolve to which candidate with a better chance of winning and give them their winning support,” said the Prime Minister.
The H.R.P.P. now occupies 44 out of 50 seats in Parliament following a number of high-profile resignations, most recently Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
He also cautioned candidates from the H.R.P.P. against challenging the winning candidate in court, or offering them money not to take the matter to court.
Tuilaepa said in past elections, H.R.P.P. members had ended up fighting each other in court.
“We have to be smart about this otherwise our candidate will lose during election. We cannot let that happen, we must consider this strategy. In the end what is the use of seven candidates running together and end up losing [due to the splitting of votes].”
He said in the past elections, H.R.P.P. members end up fighting each other in court.
“I think it is time we honour a silent code that when an H.R.P.P. member wins, we should offer our support instead of suing each other and also this trend whereas $100,000 is offered to shut down the lawsuit,” the Prime Minister said.
“That should not happen. It is wrong, embarrassing and demeaning, yet these are H.R.P.P. members.”
To date a total of 120 candidates have registered with the H.R.P.P. but there were several candidates that pulled out given they did not requirements for candidacy.
The Prime Minister also said the party will not pay for registration fees of $1,000 for its members; they will only be refunded for candidates that win their constituencies.
The H.R.P.P. Whip, Alai'asa Moefa'auo Moananu, laughed off questions whether their party was employing its new strategy was as a result of concerns about rising popularity of opposition parties.
“We have nothing to worry about and we have great candidates," he said.
Previously multiple H.R.P.P. candidates had contested single constituencies.
Alai'asa also noted the new measure is not compulsory.
“This is only a suggestion for the candidates to meet, consult and finalize their decision, but in the end if they all want to run, then so be it, that is their call," he said.
“We also have candidates that have expressed this is a good move and they are willing to throw support for other candidates, but they are not saying anything now.”
He said the move is due to the increasing number of parties vying in the upcoming election.
“We have to up our game plan to win. In the end, that is all we aim for to win, we can’t sit back when we know there is work to do. The party intention behind this is to promote harmony amongst the candidates,” said Alai’asa.
“And just because we’re running together from the same electoral constituency does not mean we should be enemies. If anything, we should help each other out”.