HRPP winning candidates with supporters at Party Headquarters at Petesa, Mulinu’u
BY Lance Polu
APIA, SATURDAY 05 MARCH 2016: The Samoan voters have returned the ruling Human Rights Protection Party in the biggest landslide victory in the party’s 30 year rule.
In the process, the voters have done away with a parliamentary opposition as the Tautua Samoa Opposition Party managed to pull through only two MPs as of last night’s provisional results.
HRPP won 44 seats, 2 to the Opposition and 3 independents. It means there will be no official parliamentary opposition as the minimum number of MPs to form a party is eight.
The Opposition Leader Palusalue Faapo 11 (655 votes) who ran against former Minister of Works Manu’alesagala Enokati (610 votes), were both beaten by newcomer Lea’ana Ronnie Posini who topped with 957 votes.
Three other senior Cabinet ministers lost their seats. Former Minister of Information Technology, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau (813 votes) lost to longtime public servant with the Ministry of Revenue, Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa who polled 938 votes.
The former Minister of Women’s Affairs Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua (556 votes) was beaten by Opposition MP Ili Setefano Ta’ateo Tafili who polled 814 votes. The Minister of Education Magele mauiliu also lost his seat to another HRPP member Gatoloaifa’ana Ama Gidlow.
Three women candidates came through and include Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’ua’u for Alataua West, Faimalotoa Kika Iemaia Stowers for Gagaifomauga No.1. and former Minister of Health, Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow. Senior Cabinet Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa was elected unopposed and means the woman candidate with the highest percentage of votes will be elected to make up five women MPs in the House as of the new Electoral amendment.
There are a few close margins which may change with the final count to begin next Monday but will not change the party composition as the close results are between HRPP candidates.
The closely watched results between former Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao and woman candidate Fa’aulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers has been won by La’aulialemalietoa by 666 votes to 353.
The Human Rights Protection Party Leader, Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesolai Sailele Maliegaoi acknowledged the country’s support and the overwhelming vote of confidence in his party’s vision for the country.
“I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge and commend the Leadership of the Opposition, the Tautua Party. This has not been an easy journey, and I congratulate you for the commitment and effort to representing your constituency and your party with such dedication,” he said.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the role of the media in this General Election.
“This is probably the first Election that has fully utilised the media for campaigning and reaching out to voters across the board.
“The media coverage of candidates and political issues, has really lead to important discussions and awareness of issues that our communities must consider for the future development of Samoa.
“As candidates, all we can do is share with voters what we believe is best for Samoa, but the final decision is not ours. It’s up to the voters, the people of Samoa, to decide who they want to lead the government and the country.”
He also acknowledged the former cabinet ministers and parliamentarians who did not make it back.
“My sympathy goes out to the Members of Parliament, especially the Cabinet Ministers who have been unsuccessful in retaining their seats.
“They deserve our thanks for their commitment and hard work to meet the needs of their constituents, as well as fulfilling their duties and service as Cabinet Ministers.
“But that is the nature of elections. You can only do your best, and hope that voters will choose you again. But as we see time and again, it’s often unpredictable.
“Looking at the results, about half of Parliament’s seats are going to change.
“This is democracy at work.”
Full provisional results are available on the Talamua Election Special link. The final count starts next Monday.