4 Mar 2011

Samoa prepares to go to the polls tomorrow

12:00 pm on 4 March 2011

As Samoans prepare to go to the polls tomorrow, the leader of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party, says if he's re-elected to another term as Prime Minister, it will be his last in the position.

The HRPP has been in power for almost 30 years, and Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has led the country since 1998.

Tuilaepa says he is under the direction of his party.

"My hair is getting white, over these many years in this position. I would be very very pleased to hang up my boots and retire. I think if my party wants me to stay on, perhaps one more, finish."

Samoa's electoral commissioner is reminding people to exercise their right to vote on election day.

Some 100-thousand registered voters will choose from around 160 candidates tomorrow.

The Electoral Commissioner, Tanuvasa Isitolo Lemisio says he is expecting a high turnout of voters.

There's an interest in elections since the party system came into operation, which is good for us, really. Before the party system developed and they became stronger, the turnouts weren't very high.

Tanuvasa says an alcohol ban will be enforced on election day.

Samoa's outgoing minister of women's affairs says there are not nearly enough female candidates running in the election.

Only 9 women are standing tomorrow, compared to the 20 who stood in the last election.

Four women were elected at the last election.

Fiame Naomi Mata'afa says in 2006 there were a number of younger women, who she believes may have been discouraged by not being elected.

I think there might be some correlation between the economic difficulties that people are experiencing and usually women who are very pragmatic people they would make decisions as to where their priorities are and probably entering into national politics wouldn't be that.