Village council backs first round winner
The village council of Toamua has thrown its support behind Ale Vena Ale, who won the April 9 election race, for the second round of general elections on 21 May.
A village meeting on Friday morning confirmed the approval from fellow Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) candidate Ulu Bismarck Crawley to withdraw and lend his support to Ale.
The third registered candidate contesting the Faleata No.4 seat is Tautua Samoa Party flag bearer, Lealasopo Leuii Vaitagutu whom did not attend the special meeting.
A former M.P. of Faleata, Ale successfully won April’s election polling 877 votes. Ulu secured 592 ballots and Lealasopo recorded 157 votes.
Following the final count, the H.R.P.P. elected Ale as their Deputy Speaker during a caucus meeting at its Petesa headquarters.
On Friday, a senior matai of the village, Ulu Shinn Ete said the council has declared their support for Ale and has no intention to go to the polls.
“The village supports the H.R.P.P. and it is the village will, not to hold [an] election but [to] unanimously support Ale,” he said.
“Ulu will withdraw his candidacy…the other candidate did not turn up (at the meeting).”
The former Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ulu Bismarck subsequently withdrew his nomination on Friday.
He acknowledged the decision from the village but did not want to comment when he was approached.
The 68-year-old winner from April’s election thanked Ulu for his willingness to withdraw and support him.
“The village has also made the decision on the other candidate Lealasopo to withdraw his candidacy so that we don’t have an election,” he said.
“This constituency does not vote for political parties but votes for the people running in the election.
“They can wave around $1 million to push a candidate to run but it is difficult because it comes down to the village that is governed by [the titles] Ulu and Ale.”
Asked what happens if the Tautua Samoa candidate does not withdraw, the elected M.P. said then the constituency will still head to the polls.
He maintained that the village has already passed down its decision on where their support lies.
Faleata No.4 consists of the villages; Safune, Saina, Puipaa and Toamua with a total roll of 2171.