Dialogue on Samoan electoral system essential for voters

The Samoa electoral system will be the main topic of discussion at the “Democracy  and Development in Samoa: the Role of Elections” national conference on Monday, 22-25 May at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia.

Samoa Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, will present on the Review of Electoral Boundaries while Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, a member of the Electoral Commission of Inquiry will present on the issues, challenges and changes of the Samoan electoral system. 

The conference will include presentations of research findings, comparative perspectives and discussions on Samoa’s electoral system, improving participation of women, youth and people with disabilities and village and national governance and development.

“The Samoa Electoral Office and the Samoa National Development Leadership Forum (S.N.L.D.F) are convening this event with the view to inform and discuss the findings of the Review and Electoral Commission with stakeholders and the public,” said Faimalomatumua.

“This is the first of many activities we are initiating as part of our voter education program. Understanding how the electoral system works and the importance of voting are fundamental in a democracy.”

Faimalomatumua said after the last elections the Electoral Office identified key areas such as improving participation of women, youth and people with disabilities among others and will be addressing these issues as a lead up to the 2021 elections.

“We will have speakers from Tonga, Fiji, academia, and election officials speaking over the three days. We also have a cross section of society represented in the panel discussions, and we are looking forward to hearing their views on how we can all work together.”

He also thanked the Samoa National  Development Leadership Forum for the partnership with the Electoral Commissions Office to co-host the Conference. 

The S.N.L.D.F is a coalition of eminent Samoans funded by the Australian Government’s Pacific Leadership Program (P.L.P). The S.N.L.D.F holds public discussions and conducts research on leadership and development issues and is a think tank on developmental issues facing Samoa, providing an informal space to freely discuss issues and ideas. 

The four-day conference will be opened by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and will culminate with a National Voters Day.  The Voters Day will focus on improving youth participation in the electoral process, after evidence from the recent election revealed low youth participation.

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