22 Aug 2009

Big change in Samoa's electoral system under new amendments

8:06 am on 22 August 2009

Samoa's Parliament has started debating electoral amendments which will could mean a number of changes to the electoral system.

Included in the amendments is a new eligibility requirement for the two individual voters seats, which will require candidates to be the holders of a traditional Samoan matai title.

The Minister of Justice and Courts administration who is also responsible for the Electoral Commissioner's office, Unasa Mesi Galo, says this change will mean all 49 seats in the Parliament are filled by chiefs and orators.

The Minister says the current system is unfair because it requires high ranking chiefs and orators representing the majority of constituencies to mix with untitled-men or taule'ale'a.

Another proposed change is the enforcement of a party system which will require MPs to maintain their allegiance to their party after an election.

It means MPs will continue to serve that party for full term, while independent MPs will be required to stay independent.

If an MP affiliated with a party resigns from the party his/her seat will be declared vacant and a fresh election called.