29 Sep 2010

Shifting allegiances in Samoa politics

8:47 pm on 29 September 2010

Some opposition MPs in Samoa want to switch their allegiance to the governing Human Rights Protection Party for the elections next March.

The HRPP whip and deputy speaker, La'auli Leauatea Polata'ivao Schmit, confirms that Le Mamea Ropati, Tuia Paepae Letoa, and Mulipola Oliva have approached the HRPP caucus.

Asiata Sale'imoa Vaai, who died earlier this month, had also been interested in joining the HRPP, which has dominated Samoan politics for the past 30 years.

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says it'll be a blow for the Tautua party which is trying to build support with a view to becoming the government, but he says the HRPP has a strong appeal.

"After the 2006 general election, some of these top opposition MPs were very critical of the ruling HRPP party. But all of a sudden towards the end of the current parliamentary term they've shown a willingness to join the ruling party. Maybe its the voice of their constituency wanting them to run as HRPP candidates, or maybe they are looking for more benefits from the ruling party."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia in Apia.