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Ten-plus H.R.P.P. candidates not nominated

Over 10 candidates from the ruling Human Rights Protection Party were unable to register their nominations for the 2021 General Election last week.

Some of the candidates who received rejection notices from the Electoral Commissioner are for failing to fulfill their monotaga requirements as well as convictions for minor traffic offences.

A comparison of the party’s candidate list announced by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi with the final nomination list from the Electoral Office showed 11 names were not listed. 

Compared to the other parties, the H.R.P.P. has the highest number of announced candidates who did not make it to the final nomination list. 

Tuilaepa, who is also the H.R.P.P. parliamentary leader, announced the name of the candidates a week before the nomination began in Savai'i more than two weeks ago. 

Some of the names from H.R.P.P. that were not listed by the Office of the Electoral Commission include two candidates from Sagaga 4: Lefue Pelenise Lelevaga and Mata’afa Lotupue. 

It could not be confirmed why the candidates’ names are not listed but it means that the former M.P. Tuisa Tasi Patea will be the sole H.R.P.P. candidate for the constituency.

Associate Minister for Finance and M.P. for Aiga ile Tai, Mulipola Leiataua Laki and Associate Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Fa’asootauloa Pati Taulapapa are also not on the approved list. 

For the Aana Alofi no2 seat, the H.R.P.P. candidate Tuuloa Tavita and Aana Alofi no4 candidate Papalii Tanoai Maopo did not make it to the approved nomination list. 

Lefaga and Falease’ela candidate I’a Sau Kaisara also didn’t make the cut due to his minor traffic offence in 2013. 

According to the Road Traffic Offence Act, the offence of negligence driving or dangerous driving has an imprisonment term not exceeding 5 years or is liable to a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units.

The Electoral Act 1963 states that a person is disqualified from contesting if he or she is convicted in Samoa or another country within the previous 8 years. Furthermore, the person will be disqualified if he or she is convicted of an offence punishable by death or by imprisonment for a term of 4 years or more. 

Tuiatafi Tonumaipe’a for Sagaga no2 and Afoa Fetulima Nonu who eyed the seat for Siumu under the H.R.P.P. banner were also excluded from the list. 

And Muagututia Dr. Faletoi who registered his name under the H.R.P.P. was not in the final candidates’ nomination list.

The H.R.P.P. Whip, Alai’asa Sepulona Moananu confirmed that he is aware of a few candidates from the party who were not listed on the nomination list. 

He could not confirm how many but assured they will be identified after the caucus meets on Wednesday this week.

The qualification of members for an election has varied from the previous general election where the law was changed to include a conviction for candidates from overseas. 

A former Associate Minister for Revenue, Lafaitele Patrick was reelected in parliament for his second term in the 2011 general election.

Despite the former M.P. for Alataua West being convicted and jailed four years in New Zealand for first-degree murder in 1988 he was still able to run in the elections. Laifaitele has been approved to run in the 2021 General Election again. 

The qualification for those being convicted was amended thereafter to include those being convicted in Samoa and other countries. 

According to the electoral law a person is disqualified from contesting if he or she is convicted of an offence punishable by death or a term of more than 4 years within the previous 8 years. Those that can qualify to contest in the election should be a citizen of Samoa and is not disqualified under the Constitution or of any Act. 

The law also says that a person is disqualified as a candidate if they lose a qualification required to enable him or her to be registered as a voter of that constituency. 

In addition, to qualify a member must reside in Samoa for a period equaling or exceeding 3 years ending with the date of the nomination paper being lodged. 

A candidate’s nomination can also be rejected for not signing a statutory declaration and does not satisfy the 3-year residential requirement and village service requirements. 

The candidate is required to render monotaga within the territorial constituency in which the candidate intends to stand for a period of at least 3 years ending on the day the nomination was lodged. 

A person is disqualified from being elected as a Member if they failed to satisfy the Commissioner that they resided in Samoa for a period exceeding 3 years. 

The electoral law also states that a person can be disqualified if they are undischarged bankrupt or has been convicted in Samoa or found guilty in Samoa of corrupt practice.  

Furthermore, a person that is of unsound mind and is subject to an order of medical custody made under the Mental Health Act will not qualify. 

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