21 Feb 2011

Tautua Samoa wants electoral law changed

3:19 pm on 21 February 2011

Samoa's Tautua Samoa party says it will look at changing the electoral law if it wins next week's election.

Last week, two of the party's candidates were disqualified over a provision in the electoral act which requires village leaders to approve the nomination, on the basis of service to the community.

The disqualification means the Prime Minister, Tuilaeapa Sailele Malielegaoi, will be unchallenged in his Lepa electorate.

One of the founders of Tautua Samoa, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, says it's a fundamental right for anyone to run.

"It's the first time this has ever happened in an election. None of the 80 or so members of the [ruling] HRPP have been affected by this law. Mainly because we didn't bother checking whether they are qualified or not, because we believe that anybody can run, exercise their right to compete in the election."

Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi says the pulen'u, or village mayors, who are required to approve the nominations are government employees, which he believes is a conflict of interest.