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Former H.R.P.P. Cabinet Minister jumps ship

A former Cabinet Minister under Human Rights Protection Party administration has jumped ship and will contest the next election for the opposition.

The former Minister of Health, Sala Vaimili II, has registered for the election to fly the flag of the Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party.

He will be challenging a sitting M.P. and the Minister of Tourism, Sala Fata Pinati, for the newly created Sagaga III seat. Sala Fata is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Gagaemauga I.

The seat was recently redefined under new electoral laws to exclude the village of Leauva’a in Upolu from its roll due to geographical anomalies. 

The village of Leauva’a, Aleisa East and Aleisa West now form the newly established constituency of Sagaga III. 

Sala Vaimili II became the Minister of Health following the 1991 General Election. 

He last contested the election in 2006.

But in 2016, when the village of Leauva’a banished two election candidates, Sala Iose McCarthy and Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, Sala Vaimili II was also banished.

His banishment came after Sala Iose McCarthy lodged a petition against Sala Fata to initiate criminal proceedings in court on election-related charges following his victory in the March 2016 poll.  

Sala Fata had faced five counts of bribery and 12 counts of improper "treating". But the complainant, Sala Iose, asked the court for the matter to be discontinued. The charges were dismissed. 

According to the nomination list approved by the Electoral Commissioner there are three candidates for the constituency. 

The third contestant is businessman and former President of the Samoa Hotels Association, Sala Olivetti Ah Him.

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