Fiame thanks, congratulates Samoa

After a knife-edge election that produced a deadlock between her former and new Faatuatua i le Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party, leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa thanked Samoa for carrying out its democratic duty.

Speaking after 10pm on Friday night at the Maota Samoa party offices, Fiame was relaxed and smiling as she addressed the nation.

Fiame, entering the new Legislative Assembly in her seventh term as the Member of Parliament for Lotofaga, said preliminary results show F.A.S.T. won 25 seats on Friday: 15 in Savaii and 10 in Upolu (including her own).

It will be another week or even two for final results to be ironed out, as the electoral office certifies the votes, and the legal petitions take place for anyone who chooses to mount them.

Fiame would not divulge how exactly her party plans to claim a majority and form a Government in the XVII Parliament.

Potential partners from the independent candidates exist but Fiame is keeping her cards close to her chest. 

“That will be a process that needs to take place. An independent is an independent, I don’t know whether that is a good position to be in or a bad position to be in," she said. 

“But I am sure that will be part of the conversations for next week.”

In her election-night address, Fiame acknowledged the F.A.S.T. Party supporters, both voters and non-voters, inside and out of Samoa. 

“The F.A.S.T. Party was established only in July last year,” she said.

“I wanted to thank especially our candidates who put up their hand to carry the flag for the FAST Party, to congratulate them for the successes of this election, and to convey to those of our members who were not successful, our gratitude for their effort and contributions to the preparations of mounting what can only be considered a very successful campaign.”

To the supporters, she honoured their moral support and immense financial contribution to the party to which she attests much of the party’s success. 

“We would not have been able to garner the support we have been able to receive for this election had it not been for that very significant contribution for our supporters, especially from overseas,” she said. 

Fiame said while the voting tallies are only preliminary and as yet unofficial, and that the official count will happen next week and will provide “further clarity.”

She offered thanks to the Head of State and the members of the Council of Deputies, and the caretaker Prime Minister and Cabinet for their role in the transition period, and the judiciary for their role.

Showing the slightest signs of exhaustion, Fiame wished the country a peaceful Sunday before taking questions from media.

It was a quiet evening at the F.A.S.T. headquarters. Just Fiame and three analysts spent the night going over numbers, until two party candidates joined in.

Toelolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, who won in Aana Alofi No.4, wresting the seat away from former Minister of Communications and Information Technology Afamasaga Rico Tupai, spent a short time at the headquarters before leaving. 

Tumua ma Puleono party co-founder (a party which, like the Samoa National Democratic Party, joined forces with F.A.S.T. last year) and political analyst, John Peterson, was among the small crew of analysts and said as a silent partner to the party, he was happy to do the leg work in the background.

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