Minister rejects challenge rumours

The Minister for the Office of the Electoral Commission, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, has denied rumours he filed a complaint about the eligibility of candidates running against him in the April election. 

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, the Minister denied what he characterised as maliciously motivated rumours that were circulating since nominations closed last week. 

“That is not true! Firstly it would be awkward for me to file a complaint against the office under [my portfolio],” said the Minister. 

“I am not sure why people are saying these rumors but rest assured that is wrong. There are people spreading false lies about this and I want to make it clear that is not true. This makes me look bad.”

The Minister then urged the members of the public to wait for the release of an official list to be released on Friday afternoon confirming which candidates are being challenged in court. 

Fa’aolesa is running for the Vaimauga 4 district. His opponents are Faualo Harry Schuster; Mauaoalii Fa’amanu Mualia and Vaea Ivana Eti. 

Apia’s village mayor, Tuiletufuga Fritz Tuiavi’i, told the Samoa Observer this week that all the candidates meet the requirements to stand for Parliament outlined under the law. 

“That was the only reason I endorsed their candidacy, they meet all the required criteria mandated under the law,” he said. 

The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, said they will know by Friday the list of candidates who are moving to challenge the decisions made by his office to disqualify their candidacy. 

“As for us, we’ll know by Friday at 12pm, the exact cases that we’ll have to address when the timeframe for filing challenges against our nomination decisions before the Supreme Court closes,” said Faimalo. 

“And since those matters will be pending before the Courts, we will not be making any comments on them before the legal process is completed.”

It was revealed this week that several candidates had their applications to stand for Parliament rejected.

Over 10 candidates from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party were unable to register their nominations for the 2021 General Election last week. 

Some of the candidates who received rejection notices from the Electoral Commissioner are for failing to fulfil their monotaga requirements as well as convictions for minor traffic offences.

I’a Sa’u Kaisara, of Tafagamanu and Savaia Lefaga, said he was disqualified for a past incident in which he crashed his car into a hedge, for which he was fined $400.

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