4 Jan 2006

Stop beating dead horse, Samoa PM tells rival in overseas vote row

11:24 am on 4 January 2006

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele wants the opposition party leader Le Mamea Ropati, to, as he puts it, stop beating a dead horse.

In an interview with the Samoa Broadcasting Corporation, Tuilaepa said Le Mamea had raised again and again the issue of voting rights for overseas Samoans.

The leader of the Samoa Democratic United Party has said that if elected to power, they would allow overseas Samoans to cast ballots in the country's general elections.

Under the law, Samoans from overseas can only vote after establishing three years' residency in the country.

Tuilaepa says there are more Samoans living overseas than those living in Samoa and the three year residential requirement would safeguard against the country being run by people who only came home to vote but didn't live there.

He said this would not be fair for Samoans who were living in and serving the country.