La'auli's exit wins backing
The Gagaifomauga No.3 Constituency in Savai’i is backing their local Member of Parliament, La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao following his resignation from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.
Senior Chief of the Faletolu (made up of Fagae'e, Sasina, and Letui), Togoi'u Misiki Vailili of Sasina, confirmed this when he was approached by the Samoa Observer for comment in relation to the latest political developments.
"He did what he had to do," the 89-year-old chief said. "We (senior chiefs) met and made the decision for him to leave H.R.P.P. and we know it was not easy for us and for him to leave. But as you know, something has to be done."
Togoi'u emphasised that the decision they made for their M.P. to leave the party didn’t mean they had anything against the ruling party.
"We have always been true supporters of the government and the H.R.P.P. But if our M.P. is out of the party, we will follow suit. Our constituency cannot stay true to the H.R.P.P. if our representative is no longer a part of that political party."
In saying that, Togoi'u said their support for La'auli remains firm and solid.
"This does not change the way we support our Member of Parliament," he said with a smile. "La'auli has done so much for this constituency; so has his father Polataivao Fosi. He is highly respected and we support him, always. The Faletolu is behind him all the way and there is no one else we will vote for to represent this constituency, but La'auli.”
His track record in delivering for his constituency is also a major factor behind his popularity among the constituency's residents, according to Togoi'u.
"La'auli is not like other Members of Parliament, who only visit the constituency when it is closer to the time of elections. He always visits and checks up on the constituency, during natural disasters and when the country is experiencing some tough times (like diseases), La'auli always makes time to drive down to the constituency and checks on us," the senior chief said. "That is why we decided and asked him to walk away from the H.R.P.P. as we feel for our M.P."
The decision for La'auli to exit the ruling H.R.P.P. was confirmed last week by another senior chief of the Faletolu, Polataivao Pouvalu of Fagae'e.
Earlier this week, the former Speaker and Cabinet Minister and senior Member of Parliament, announced his resignation from the ruling party in a press conference.
It is understood he will make an official farewell speech in the Legislative Assembly when the Parliament convenes in a fortnight.
Emails to the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Matthew Lemisio, seeking comment on the process that would follow La'auli's exit did not receive a response.