23 Jan 2006

Samoa rules out overseas voting in March general election

4:25 pm on 23 January 2006

Samoa's Electoral Commissioner has told the opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, that there are no plans to register Samoan voters through Samoa's missions in New Zealand.

Le Mamea said he was disappointed with the response because it means that a provision in the law that registration of voters may be carried out overseas will not be followed.

He said the Electoral Commissioner should ask the government for funds to register Samoan voters in New Zealand.

Le Mamea claimed that this had been done in 1996.

But the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, in an interview with the Samoa Observer, said no funds would be allocated for this purpose even if asked.

Tuilaepa has declared that no registering or voting will be allowed overseas.

The Prime Minister says those who want to vote have to come to Samoa to register and cast their ballots.

Tuilaepa said if voting or registration of voters is allowed overseas it would have to be carried out wherever Samoans reside be that New Zealand or the US.