Fa’asaleleaga No. 3 challenger grateful victor
Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party candidate Li’o Papalii Masipa’u has won the Fa’asaleleaga No. 3 seat, defeating incumbent M.P. Namulau’ulu Papali’i Leota, preliminary figures.
The 66-year-old F.A.S.T. candidate collected 1268 votes a lead of 196 votes compared to his rival, Namulau’ulu, who contested under the Human Rights Protection Party banner (H.R.P.P.).
A third candidate for the same Savai'i seat, also endorsed by the F.A.S.T. party, Li’omatua Ainuu Siaosi Sala’a, only collected 65 votes.
A former Member of Parliament and former Assistant Police Commissioner, Li’o Papalii told the Samoa Observer that he’s thankful to his constituency and family for their support.
“It is a great feeling to win again and the numbers paint the picture of what the constituency wants and that is change,” he said on Saturday.
Li'o is a former Tautua Samoa Party member but also ran as a losing candidate under the H.R.P.P. flag in last year's Fa’asaleleaga No. 2 by-election saying it was the choice of the people.
In the 2011 election he emerged as a highly successful opposition candidate, then competing in the Fa’asaleleaga 2 district. He secured more than 53 per cent of the votes on his own in a hard-fought tri-corner contest; he lost the following election in 2016.
This year Li'o says political strategy, a determination to get into Parliament and a belief in the party's values led him to contest the seat for F.A.S.T.
Li’o has said the F.A.S.T. party's manifesto ultimately drew him to the opposition movement.
“In my view and my constituency, we think F.A.S.T. party’s foundation and goals have been well organised and should we be successful, we aim for equal opportunities for all constituencies,” he said.
He says a major priority upon his return to elected office, is the improvement of the ford connecting Lalomalava and Sapapalii.
“The ford which connects the inter-island wharf and the main hospital in Savai’i needs improvement for the welfare of the families living in close vicinity as well as the travelling public,” he said.
The newly re-elected M.P. also said all 51 constituencies of Samoa should be treated the same and opportunities made available to them equally.
“The truth is other constituencies are more developed than others. For example, road works on plantation or inland roads, Tuasivi roads are all tarred and sealed while our inland roads in Sapapalii and Safotulafai have not reached a satisfactory level,” he added.
“And I have seen the goals of F.A.S.T. that there is a chance my constituency may reap some benefits from it, especially in the areas of improving road networks, especially our area in Tapu’eleele.
“That area is a bit low while the rest of the village lives on higher grounds; the roads need improvement as well as the creation of road-side sewers to ensure the water does not ruin road work.”