Special vote count updates temporarily freezed
After the first full day of counting special votes from around the country, Samoa won’t be getting an update on the voting numbers in the Vaimauga and Faleata districts.
Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio said on Monday that all the final and official results will be released together when all the counting is over.
When this happens, it will trigger the 10 working days that candidates have to file any petitions against the results they wish to challenge.
If the special votes and final counts are revealed earlier, it will trigger the 10 working day period too early, he said.
The results will be released to the party scrutineers per constituency, and the O.E.C. staff have just two weeks to finish the job before results are to be presented to the Head of State.
On Monday, the O.E.C. began counting the special votes for Vaimauga No.1, 2, 3, and 4, and Faleata No.1, 2 and 4.
They also recounted the votes already counted once at each ballot station on Friday. After relocation to the Tuanaimato headquarters under police escort, the votes are counted again under intense scrutiny to confirm the results.
The seats to be counted on Tuesday will be Sagaga No.1, 2, 3 and 4 and Aana Alofi No.1, 2, 3, and 4.
Of the seats being counted on Monday, Vaimauga No.2 will be of interest as an early declaration had to be retracted after an accounting error was discovered, handing the seat back from the preliminary results winner Tamaleta Taimang Jensen to incumbent Lenatai Victor Tamapua.
It means another seat for the Human Rights Protection Party, and one fewer for the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party.
The two parties currently have 25 constituency seats each. The 51st seat is held by Gagaemauga No.1 winner Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, who has the option to choose an alliance, consequently deciding who will lead Government for the next Parliamentary term.
Meanwhile, the O.E.C. has had to suspend its live broadcast of the vote counting after what it describes as excessive abuse by the public on its Facebook live stream.