P.M. scoffs at election claims
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has scoffed at claims the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) has been forced to bring forward its General Election candidates registrations.
Speaking outside the H.R.P.P’s Petesa headquarters at Sogi, the party leader acknowledged claims by people whom he said have questioned why “we are rushing” the registrations in response to the heat being placed on the H.R.P.P. by other parties.
“We’re not rushing anything,” Tuilaepa said, laughing.
“This is normal for a party that always prepares in advance unlike others who have to go out and to try and find candidates. It’s not the case here (with the H.R.P.P.), the candidates just come.”
The ruling party, which has been in power for 37 years, started its registrations last month in Upolu. As of yesterday, Tuilaepa confirmed that they officially have 101 candidates. That number includes standing H.R.P.P. Members of Parliament and new candidates.
But the Prime Minister said this number could easily increase in the coming months.
“We have a lot more candidates who have informed us that their constituencies haven’t met yet, maybe (they’ll meet) in the next two weeks,” he said.
For that reason, the H.R.P.P. leader said they have postponed the registration process until the end of August.
He anticipates that they will have their final list of candidates by September.
“This is normal procedure,” Tuilaepa said about the process undertaken by the H.R.P.P.
The Prime Minister also expressed confidence in the line up the party has so far.
“Our candidates are not just some candidates; they are all very good candidates,” he said.
Asked about having multiple candidates contesting one seat, which opens the possibility of them cancelling each other out, Tuilaepa said he was aware of this.
“Ideally what we want is for one member to run so the votes aren’t split but we cant control the constituencies, it is up to them, that’s their right to have two or three (candidates),” Tuilaepa said.
“Many people want to serve as a Member of Parliament, that’s the nature of this thing. I’m mindful we have many members in the party who are second term, third term M.Ps but it doesn’t stop others from wanting to serve our country in this capacity.
“The final decision rests with the constituency and the secret whisper of the holy sprit.”
Six political parties will contest the General Election next April. The newest party is the “Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi” party which was officially registered with the Office of the Electoral Commissioner on Thursday.
Founder and former Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt said they already have 50 candidates for the election.
"There is no constituency in Samoa that has no member,” Laauli said about their candidates. "We have members from all the constituencies in Samoa. That was the number we targeted from the beginning. We did not need hundred members or more.
“The total number of seats in Parliament, is also the total number of members we concentrated on."
Like Tuilaepa, La’auli is also confident in their candidates.
"They are here because their constituency has asked them to come. We aren't just bringing in members as they are,” he said.
"The 50 seats that are there (in Samoa), is also the total number of people who own this party.”