31 Mar 2006

Election campaign in Samoa about to end

3:15 pm on 31 March 2006

Candidates for the election in Samoa are back in their constituencies engaging in last-minute campaigning.

Today ballot boxes have been checked to make sure everything is ready before tomorrow's poll.

Philippa Tolley is in Apia and sent this report.

"The Electoral Commission in Apia is crowded with polling officials and piles of white wooden boxes as they double-check all voting papers and electoral rolls for each polling station are in order. The boxes and papers for Savai'i left early this morning and those for polling stations closer to Apia will be the last to be inspected. The candidates have until 6:30 tonight to convince voters to back them, after that all campaigning must stop. Over 200 candidates are standing for 49 parliamentary seats. This election has seen strong opposition to the ruling Human Rights Protection Party, from the Samoa Democratic Union Party and the newly-formed Samoa Party. Voters will also be able to choose candidates from another new player, The Christian Party, or the Samoa Progressive Party and a range of independents. From Apia for RNZI, Philippa Tolley."