S.N.D.P. leader Valasi nominates for F.A.S.T.

Leader of the Samoa National Democratic Party (S.N.D.P.), Valasi Toogamaga Tafito, will stand for Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) at the coming election.

The former M.P., who registered on Thursday, is contesting the constituency of Vaisigano No. 2 for Samoa’s newest opposition party. The seat is currently held by Member of Parliament, Tapulesatele Mauteni Esera. 

Last month, the S.N.D.P, Tumua ma Puleono and F.A.S.T. announced they would join forces for the April election by agreeing not to run candidates against each other.

(The move is designed to avoid splitting the opposition parties’ votes; the parties’ constitutions and manifestos will remain their own and they will otherwise continue as separate entities.)

Vaisigano No. 2 is made up of Fagasa, Sataua and Papa Sataua.

Valasi, who says he is a simple man with a background in farming, was previously the M.P. for Vaisigano No.2 from 1996 to 2006.

Speaking to the Observer on Thursday, Valasi clarified that although all candidates are running under F.A.S.T. as stipulated under the agreement, each respective political party still exist as an entity.

"It is clear to each and every one of us that we are all running under F.A.S.T., but the development of our individual political parties continue because we are all legally recognised political parties," he said.

"Even if I win the seat, we are all under F.A.S.T. together, we are competing with one ticket, one arrangement. There are times when we have our own [S.N.D.P.] meetings after our F.A.S.T. meetings, talking about our plans and developments."

Each party under the F.A.S.T. umbrella continues to be a legitimate political entity with its own president, secretary, treasurer, policies and members, Valasi said.

"In terms of the manifesto, like I said we are all on one ticket and so our manifesto is built together, with whatever we bring in, it is merged with everyone's else, but even when you see our manifestos individually they are all very similar," he said.

"And so our manifesto is being built together, and will eventually be launched sometime after the Parliament is dissolved."

 Valasi is married and is a father to eight children.

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