Tautua party supports independent Electoral Office
The Tautua Party has thrown its support behind a proposal to make the Office of the Electoral Commissioner to be made independent.
The call was first made earlier this week by the former Deputy Prime Minister and the Member of Parliament for Lotofaga Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
“The Office of the Electoral Commission should be independent and a Constitutional Authority and we share the concern pointed out by the Fiame [Naomi Mata’afa],” said Tautua Party leader Luagalau Dr Afualo Salele.
Luagalau made the comments following Tuesday’s Parliamentary session in which the former Deputy Prime Minister called for the Office of the Electoral Commissioner to be made independent from any political affiliations.
Independent Member Fiame made the call during an urgent session of Parliament where amendments to the Electoral Act 2019 were passed.
Afuola claims the Electoral Office has no independence at all.
“It’s evident these [electoral] laws are put in place to protect the ruling party and to keep them in power.”
He said this was another reason for the public to consider a change of Government.
But the Electoral Commissioner himself, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, disputes the need for such reforms.
“Our Office has always been independent when executing its core functions of registering voters, managing and administering elections [and] advising Cabinet, through the Honourable Minister, of issues relating to elections,” he said.
Fiame said that it appeared necessary to have the Commissioner’s Office from the group of lawmakers who were likely to pass self-interested legislation.
“The Office of the Electoral Commissioner to be independent because it is different from our circle of people that deal with legislation and politics,” she said.
“We need to protect it to ensure the independence of this office to guarantee there is equality in our elections and our electoral laws so that there is no bias or discrimination against others.”
Parliament has been adjourned until 27 November 2020.