P.M. welcomes competition in Lepa

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has declared that he is not worried about the competition from two candidates who have registered to run against him for the Lepa seat in the General Election.

Candidates Faletagoa’i Tausaga and Tu’ula Kirili Tuitui will take on the Prime Minister in the general election next April.

But the veteran politician is unfazed, saying in an interview on the Taimi male Palemia that he used to run “marathons”.

“I am used to these types of marathons. I went through by-election and within six months, was the general election and at the time elections were held every three years,” he said.

“The timeframe for the election was amended to five years and I also won.”

The Human Rights Protection Party [HRPP] leader added that he’s contested 11 General Elections and has been elected 10 times in a row. 

“I say this because it is nothing new [in the political arena] that I have opponents up against the election. I am not worried in any manner.”

The Prime Minister said that when their Constituency met over election matters, he did not attend.

“I wanted the High Chiefs to consult freely and make their decision, without any pressure [if I attend]. 

“And after the meetings I was told there will be no election, [fast forward] now there will be an election and I don’t care because these things happen and I am used to it.”

The Prime Minister also thanked the high chiefs of his constituency for entrusting their Parliamentary seat to him for many years.

Tuilaepa first entered Parliament as Member for Lepa in 1980 after winning a by-election, following the death of the incumbent M.P. at that time, and represented it for an uninterrupted period spanning four decades. 

Tuilaepa also spoke about the uniqueness of the Parliament of Samoa where only chiefs are entitled to run for public office. 

“A chief of the village is defined by his action in the village through his service such, and by the time you enter Parliament you know the essence of your role and that is to serve,” he said.

Tuilaepa said that it’s evident that anyone can run for office and it also puts to rest allegations that he has a hand in preventing election candidates from entering Parliament.

He also dismissed reports that village mayors are deliberately avoiding endorsing the required paperwork for F.A.S.T. candidates.

“This is also happening in [the H.R.P.P.] party; some of our members are also accusing the village mayors for not doing their job accordingly. But it is that simple, the village mayors are abiding by the law, they can and will be penalized if they don’t follow the law.” 

Three candidates have been denied endorsement by their village councils to nominate for the next election – decisions that will now lead to legal proceedings.

The village council of Vaitele and Faleula instead passed down a decision to support their incumbent Members of Parliament in the upcoming election.

This has stopped candidates such as Paloa Louis Stowers and Toi Lealailepule Ioane of the Faleata No. 3 seat and Papalii Panoa Moala of the Sagaga No. 1 constituency from registering as candidates.

The M.P. for Faleata West, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, and the Minister of Education Sports and Culture and M.P. for Sagaga le Falefa, Loau Keneti Sio, are two of three unopposed candidates for the election.  

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