H.R.P.P. secures majority with extra seat

By Renate Rivers 20 April 2021, 12:00AM

In a late notice issued on social media on Tuesday night, the Office of the Electoral Commission confirmed that the threshold of 10 per cent women representation in Parliament had not been met in the recent General Election.

Five women were duly elected at the completion of the Final Count of votes for the 2021 General Election but the Office of the Electoral Commission had confirmed this week that they were seeking legal advice on whether another woman must be brought in to Parliament, with contention over whether those elected met the country's legal threshold.  

The document shared to social media, signed by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, declared that a warrant of election was issued for Aliimalemanu Moti Moemoemausu Alofa Tuuau of Alataua Sisifo.

The O.E.C. notice accompanying the warrant stated that Article 44(1a) of the Constitution had been activated as 10 per cent of women in Parliament had not been met following the General Election. 

The Commission went on to confirm that only 9.8 per cent of the women membership was achieved, and that the Constitution requires a minimum of 10 per cent of seats occupied by women.

When the law to ensure women in Parliament was introduced in 2013, there were 49 seats. So the amendment included the line that “for the avoidance of doubt, presently” 10 per cent of the house meant five women.

The Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio told the Samoa Observer on Monday that he was guided by that provision when declaring the election results, particularly with the use of the word "presently".

Aliimalemanu had collected 464 ballots in her favour during the election, well short of her rival and eventual winner Seuula Ioane. 

Her election under the threshold now puts the Human Rights Protection Party ahead of the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party with 26 - 25 seats respectively.

Aliimalemanu entered politics in 2016 after working as chief accountant for the Samoa Public Trust Office for thirteen years; as a finance manager for the University of the South Pacific in Fiji for thirteen years; and then as finance manager for the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) in Samoa, where she had worked for fourteen years. 

In the previous Parliamentary term she was the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Committee Chair. 

By Renate Rivers 20 April 2021, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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