Candidate withdraws, P.M. Tuilaepa secures seat in next Parliamentary sitting
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has secured his seat in the next sitting of Parliament.
On Monday, it was announced that his only opponent, Faletagoai Tausaga, had withdrawn his candidacy, making Tuilaepa the third incumbent Member of Parliament to have secure a seat in the next Parliamentary sitting after Fiame Naomi Mata'afa and Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi.
The decision was confirmed by the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, in a public notice.
Tuilaepa first entered Parliament in 1981 and has been in office for close to 40 years.
At the closure of the nomination period in October, the Prime Minister had two candidates that registered to run from the Lepa constituency.
Tu’ula Kiliri Tuitui who had been trying to run from Lepa for two general elections was the Prime Minister’s second opponent.
But before Tu’ula of Saleapaga could look forward to finally counting votes for the election – an electoral petition was filed by Faletagoai of Aufaga challenging his eligibility.
Faletagoai had claimed that Tu’ula is ineligible to run from Lepa because he has been banished from the village for years and has not rendered his monotaga.
The recently withdrawn candidate in his evidence during the electoral petition denied suggestions that his legal challenge was an attempt to knock out Tu’ula from contesting the Prime Minister.
The Court later concluded that Tu’ula did not render his monotaga and was therefore disqualified from running in the upcoming election.