Tuilaepa reappointed to lead H.R.P.P. into General Election
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has been unanimously reappointed to lead the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) into next year's General Elections.
He has also confirmed his candidacy for constituency of Lepa, dismissing suggestions that the 75-year-old, who has been Samoa's Prime Minister for 21 years, was looking at retirement.
“It has always been the bylaws of the [H.R.P.P.] since Tofilau’s time that we vote for the leaders twice during our term," Tuilaepa said.
“The first time is during the campaign season and second vote is to elect the leader of the party for the five year tenure.
"Even though my five years has not ended, I felt the need to go through this meeting immediately and the [party] re-elected me.”
The Prime Minister said 43 members attended their caucus meeting and the decision was unanimous.
“This is the 19th time I have been elected to lead the party and I will lead the party for the next nine months,” he said.
Tuilaepa also confirmed that so far, 94 candidates have registered to run for office under the H.R.P.P. banner.
“But we anticipate there will be more candidates that will run for the H.R.P.P.; other constituencies have not met to decide on their candidate.
"As soon as we are done with the registration, a list will be compiled, but there is no rush. We anticipate opening registrations again next week Tuesday."
The Prime Minister noted that to date, there are six political parties, counting the plan by former H.R.P.P. Member, La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt to set up a new party.
The Prime Minister speculated that among the membership of La'auli's party are Olo Fiti Vaai and Faumuina Wayne Fong.
"It's a bit embarrassing they are announcing their party yet there are no members," Tuilaepa said. "I challenge them to announce their members, if you have guts; name your members but if you don’t have the guts to announce the members, you may as well stop now."
Contacted for a comment, La'auli said the Prime Minister should take his comments back.
"We will announce (our candidates) when it is the right time, and this is after we consult members of the public and the voters," La'auli said.
"He has no right to tell our party when to announce our party officially, but we anticipate to announce before the end of the month."
Back to the H.R.P.P., the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, confirmed that the decision to reappoint Tuilaepa was unanimous.
“We thank God for his protection, blessing and anointing of our leader,” he said.
“We are very confident in his leadership of the H.R.P.P. party and consequently government. We don't go far to find achievements of this leadership. We have been a progressive people and as a country, we are punching way above our weight regionally as well as internationally because of Tuilaepa's leadership and H.R.P.P. party.
“As a world renowned and globally recognized leader and we shall continue to take advantage of Tuilaepa's leadership for the benefit of our people in whatever way we can."