Lefue withdraws election candidacy
A candidate for Sagaga No. 4 constituency, Lefue Tofilau Perenise, has decided to withdraw his candidacy for the 2021 General Election.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Lefue confirmed his decision not to challenge a decision from the Electoral Commissioner to reject his nomination. He pointed out that the rejection of his nomination application was due to a traffic offence he has on his police record.
Lefue was convicted and discharged for a negligence driving causing injury offence in 2013.
The traffic offence has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for any party liable to the charge.
However, the electoral law disqualifies a person that is convicted within the last 8 years for an offence that is punishable by death or imprisonment term of 4 years or more.
Despite having to resign from his previous employer so he can contest in the election, Lefue has decided that there is still time for him to run in the future.
He resigned from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2017 so he can start his preparations to contest the Sagaga No. 4 seat.
The candidate said he is saddened about the latest development especially because his village of Levi Saleimoa has already endorsed his candidacy to support him in the election.
“I was confident with the support from my village of Levi as we have the biggest number of voters in the roll,” he said.
“But after consulting with my lawyer I was advised that there is little chance to come out successful [in a petition] because the law is quite clear about convictions and offence.
“I have decided to sit this one out…”
Lefue had registered his nomination to flag the Human Rights Protection Party.
Another H.R.P.P. candidate that has taken the risk to challenge the law due to a minor traffic offence from the past is I’a Sa’u Kaisara.
The Lefaga and Falease’ela candidate is hoping to convince the Court to reverse the decision from the Electoral Commissioner to deny his nomination.
According to I’a his traffic offence involved him swirling over the road while driving and crashing into a family’s hedge at Saleimoa.
He assured no one was hurt and was later fined and convicted by the Court in 2014.