By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: The Electoral Commissioner Faimalōmatumua Mathew Lemisio says it is illegal for a Village Mayor or a Government village representative not to sign an election candidate confirmation papers without a valid reason.
There are at least three cases of candidates complaining that their Village Mayor is playing hard to find or outright saying he cannot sign a candidate’s nomination confirmation as the village has decided on another candidate.
The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalōmatumua Mathew Lemisio clarifies that the Mayor can be charged for refusing to sign a candidate’s documents without a lawful reason, and the candidate can take legal action.
The Village Mayor’s endorsement is crucial to every election candidates’ nomination as it confirms the candidates’ monotaga – contribution to the village as required by law. The candidates’ nomination cannot be accepted if this form is not completed among a host of other documents including the medical reports and confirmation of 3 years residency in Samoa.
Candidates have complained to the Electoral Commissioner who advised them to take legal action against the village mayors.
The registration of election candidates start next Tuesday, 13 October and close 23 October. Candidates are concerned that given this limited time for candidate’s to be registered, by the time the legal process for a court case is over, registration is long closed.
The Electoral Commissioner however explains that if the Court says that a candidate is qualified to run in the election, then he will accept that candidate to run.
Talamua understands that there are several intending candidates for next year’s general election who are having a hard time getting their village mayors to sign their papers. Another candidate said his village mayor told him he cannot sign his papers as the village is united to support the sitting MP, “which is unconstitutional,” he said.
Faimalōmatumua said his office has no authority over such issues, but he reminded the village mayors of their roles to confirm candidates who are rendering monotaga as required by the Electoral Act.