11 Feb 2011

Samoa's deputy prime minister will not seek re-election

6:40 am on 11 February 2011

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni has finally decided not to seek re-election for the parliamentary seat of Falelatai and Samatau after a meeting with the caretaker Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi yesterday.

Misa's decision to quit politics has ended months of speculation and media reports over the mysterious resignation letter he gave to the chiefs of Falelatai last year as a result of internal friction.

The deputy prime minister did not reveal during the last session of parliament in January however, whether he would be stepping down.

The prime minister Tuilaepa in a statement says he is saddened with the decision of the deputy leader not to seek reelection.

But Tuila'epa says it is an open door for others to compete for the seat which was held by Misa for 22 years.

The 58 year old thanked his party through a traditional presentation of food, money and fine mats last month after the dissolution of parliament.

Misa was originally an opposition MP when he was first elected from his constituency. But he joined the government of the late Prime Minister, Tofilau Eti Alesana, and became minister of Agriculture in 1991.

He was elected the deputy leader of the ruling HRPP party and became the deputy prime minister after the 2001 general election.

He was the former Attorney General and lawyer and a certified accountant by profession.