P.M. predicts landslide win
The caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has predicted not only to retain Government but to do so with a thumping majority in Parliament.
The leader of the incumbent Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) declared on Thursday that they would claim 45 seats. Achieving such a majority would be a slight increase on the 44 seats they held by the dissolution of the last Parliament and after a trio of Government M.P.s had left the ruling party.
Tuilaepa further predicted the opposition will not be able to carry through with their promises to change the constitution again “because they will never get the numbers.”
He scoffed at the opposition parties’ announcements that they will repeal the constitutional amendments which they claim are affecting customary land alongside a recently passed and major overhaul of the judicial system. The changes will effectively create autonomous and parallel Land and Title Courts to sit alongside the nation’s common courts.
“I look at them with empathy saying they will protect the constitution, making it seem like the Constitution has been troubled, especially the F.A.S.T. [Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi] political party,” he said during his weekly 2AP programme.
“In my observation, they have already announced their intention that they will destroy all these laws and remove the strengthened rights of Alii ma Faipule (communal rights); that is what I am hearing from this if they make it into Parliament.
“These things are not easy; changing the constitution is not easy. The constitution can only be changed when you have not fewer than 34 Members of Parliament.
“They will never get up to 34 Members. Where will they get 34 when I have already revealed that we will not have less than 42 Members; we might get up to 45.”
Only if it is supported by the vote of two-thirds of all M.P.s, can a motion to amend the constitution be passed into law.
F.A.S.T. is campaigning on a platform of revoking the laws it alleges are threatening the supremacy of the constitution. The Land Titles Registration Act (L.T.R.A.) 2008, Lands and Titles Act 2020, Judicature Act 2020, and the Constitutional Amendment Act 2020 were passed last December amid criticism from some leading Samoan jurists.
The newest and largest political party is not alone. Every other opposition party is seeking to undo the previous Government’s changes to the judicial system.
Tuilaepa predicted another H.R.P.P. landslide win for the April election based on the party’s internal forecasts.
“You need to understand that we have been doing this for a very long time, we have stable connections and methods to obtain the status of each constituency,” he said, while smiling.
“We have done this for a long time; this is also why our forecasts are always 100 per cent accurate.
“So if we have 45 members, as an example, and then leaving 6 seats vacant, we don’t know who these six are; maybe three from F.A.S.T. but with Fiame already in, they only need two more; and another three from Tautua [Samoa]; that’s if they can even get those numbers.
“How will there be an official opposition party to amend the constitution? They cannot get [to official party status]. Even if they do put together a coalition, they cannot do it, so how can they say they will change the Government?
“Only one can change the Government, and that is the living God. We do things according to plans, but it is God who makes it happen.”
To be officially recognised, parties must have eight M.P.s elected at a minimum.
Tuilaepa said those who claim that he is worried about the election are misguided.
“The reason I don’t worry is that none of this is ours; the reason why someone would worry is that they have interfered in God’s work,” he said.
“They say they are a party who has faith in God, but what’s happening? They say that with their mouths but rely on the money to win over the Government?
“Money is not the answer; you find it with prayer and faith in God. Once you say you have faith in God, you don’t have to look for it; you just have to wait on it.”
Earlier this month, the President of the Tautua Samoa Party, Afualo Luagalau Dr. Salele believes the next Government will take the form of a coalition of opposition parties, following the April general election.
He is optimistic that Tautua’s alliances will field more than ten candidates to make up the numbers of a new Government.