General Election candidates number drops
The total number of candidates contesting the 2021 General Election has dropped from 200 to 198 after the Supreme Court ruled on the electoral petitions last Friday.
But the Human Rights Protection Party still leads despite losing two of the candidates during the petitions. Tevaga Tupuivao Mapusaga and Magailefua Maposua Gafoleata were disqualified while newly qualified Talalafai Toma Amosa for Fa’asaleleaga No. 2 has joined in.
Accordingly the number of candidates for H.R.P.P. has fallen by one from 114 to 113.
Newly established Fa’atuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party managed to gain two new candidates despite losing one other flag bearer after the petitions.
Fata Meafou and Papalii Panoa Moala successfully overturned the Electoral Commissioner's decision allowing them to run while Sianifo Vaimoana Sooaemalelagi was disqualified. F.A.S.T. has increased the number of their candidates from 49 during nomination to 50 after last Friday.
On the other hand, the Tautua Samoa Party has retained its 14 candidates when the Court disqualified the Prime Minister’s opponent Tu’ula Kiliri Tuitui and ordered the registration of Su’a Samuleu Su’a.
The Samoa First Party also lost one of its candidate when the name of Leoa Tauti Faaleolea was ordered to be removed from the Gagaemauga no1 nomination list.
The number of candidates from Samoa First dropped from six to five.
Newly qualified candidate for Salega No. 1, Leumuava Asalemo Tuimauga has opted to run as an independent bringing the number of those sitting on the fence to 15.
There were initially 16 registered candidates for independents but the number dropped after Fiu withdrew and former M.P. for Alataua West, Lafaitele Patrick Leiataualesa was disqualified.
The overall number of female candidates has also dropped from 23 to 22.
The sole candidate for Sovereign Independent Samoa is still standing.
In relations to electoral petitions, Leader of F.A.S.T., La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt said they are glad the cases are over so they move forward and finalise their numbers.
He pointed out the number of petitions was unexpectedly a lot compared to previous years.
“I hope the experience from the cases will be used to improve future elections and our electoral act,” said La’auli.
“A lot of the petitions challenges the electoral law and also raises questions for monotaga that provides a narrow chance for people to run in election.
“It’s something that should be looked at in terms of amendment so that there is no barrier that stops people from exercising that…but there are also a lot of lessons learnt from the matters.”
The General Election is scheduled on 9th April 2021.