F.A.S.T. opts to endorse one candidate

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 12 May 2022, 7:20PM

Three potential candidates hoping to run in the Gagaifomauga No. 2 by-election are seeking the endorsement of the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party. 

But the ruling party’s leadership has advised that they will only endorse one candidate for the by-election.

The F.A.S.T. party Chair La’auli Leuatea Schmidt said he has told the three candidates to negotiate who will run under the F.A.S.T. banner.

He said the party had already agreed to endorse the candidate Lomia Tauloa Moafanua Siaaga, who had previously sat out the general election to support the former M.P. Vaele Paiaaua Sekuini. 

However, he said the candidates have been instructed to talk and come to an agreement on which one of them will represent the party. 

Matai from the villages of Fatuvalu, Matavai and Faletagaloa were at the Maota Samoa headquarter on Thursday to present another candidate, Falesaopule Vaialia Iosua. Lomia Tauloa comes from the same village as Falesaopule.

La’auli also said they were expecting another candidate from Lefagaoalii who wanted to run for the party.

“We have discussed the candidates and we will only be endorsing one,” he told the media.

“The villages want their own candidate but there is only one seat available, not two…” According to the F.A.S.T. Chairman, they were able to win the Gagaifomauga No. 2 seat in last April’s general election, because their three candidates at the time had consulted and agreed to support one. 

Asked if the party intends to endorse a candidate and have another run as an independent, La’auli said no.

“That was our mistake last time,” he replied. “When we have one F.A.S.T. candidate it came through but when there were other independent members that led to the division of votes. We will not make the same mistake again.” 

La’auli said the goal is to win the seat and having more candidates contesting the one seat will not achieve that outcome. 

There is currently a 31-seat majority in the parliament held by the F.A.S.T. party including new additional M.P. Toomata Norah Leota. Opposition party, Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) has 22 representatives including their two new additional members. 

The decision by the Court to have three more women members sworn-in is to meet a constitutional requirement for a minimum 10 per cent women representation in the Legislative Assembly. 

The Gagaifomauga No. 2 by-election is critical for the political parties if F.A.S.T. continues to keep the seat as it means it will be two seats short in gaining a two-thirds majority in the House. 

If the H.R.P.P. get back the seat they’ve held since the 2016 parliamentary term, it will strengthen the Opposition and deny the F.A.S.T. to minimise their chances of getting two-thirds majority in Parliament. 

To have the two-third majority means the Government of the day will be able to pass any laws including amendments to the Constitution without the intervention of another party. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 12 May 2022, 7:20PM
Samoa Observer

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