2 Apr 2007

Samoa's SDUP struggles to regain official party status

1:12 pm on 2 April 2007

The Samoa Democratic United Party says it's tough finding an eighth member to run for SDUP because it can't compete with the benefits offered by the ruling party.

The government no longer recognises the SDUP as the official opposition party after it was ruled it needed 8 MPs to be an opposition party, and the party only had 7.

The secretary for SDUP, Tuia Pua Fuatogi Letoa, says it's hard to recruit members when the ruling Human Rights Protection Party has so much to offer its candidates.

"We don't have nothing to manoeuvre or try to get people running for SDUP or the opposition because any member running for HRPP will obtain an associate minister position, they get a free car from the government. It is very hard for us to find any electable candidates running for SDUP because of those kind of benefit given out by HRPP. 19 secs."

Mr Letoa says the party has been negotiating with possible candidates, but its main goal is to have the law changed so the SDUP can be recognised in parliament as an official party.