3 Apr 2006

Samoa opposition queries ruling party's election campaign

4:51 pm on 3 April 2006

Opposition groups in Samoa are raising questions about the way the ruling HRPP ran its election campaign.

Preliminary results from the weekend's election gave 30 seats to the HRPP, 10 to the opposition SDUP, and eight to independent candidates - one seat is tied.

While the election itself was quiet, there have been reports of violence since the results came in, as Philippa Tolley reports from Apia.

"The Samoa Observer says a school building was set on fire and a man was shot and wounded when the results came in that the Minister of Works had beaten Le Tagaloa Pita, a top ranking matai, or local area leader."

Le Tagaloa, the deputy leader of the newly formed Samoa Party, which failed to win any seats, expects many results will be challenged in court.

While traditional gifts of food and money are allowed, Le Tagaloa says the outcomes show how much was given.

The leader of the main opposition party, the SDUP, Le Mamea Ropati, has expressed concern over what he says is the government's dominance of the state funded media.

He has accused the government of rushing to finish local projects to gain village support.

But Samoa's caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, says the people understand that the opposition parties have been making unrealistic promises.