10 Feb 2011

Rival to Tuilaepa in Samoa election may not be able to stand

5:30 pm on 10 February 2011

Samoa's caretaker prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi's sole rival in the elections, Tu'ula Tuitui, may not be registered as a candidate because the mayor won't confirm he has served his village.

Tu'ula says the mayor of his village of Saleapaga will not endorse the registration form to confirm he has served his village as required by law.

But Tu'ula claims he's contributed to village affairs, including in the post- tsunami recovery work and his family has provided proof of this.

He says chiefs and orators of Saleapaga have asked him several times not to run against Tuilaepa in the March 4th elections.

Tuilaepa has told radio 2AP he's not behind the mayor's refusal to endorse Tu'ula's registration, but says that people should render service to villages and not just turn up close to elections.

Tu'ula is a member of the rival Tautua Samoa Party and its deputy leader, Palusalue Fa'apo II says Tuilaepa is scared of their candidate.