6 Mar 2011

Tuilaepa says he looks forward to working with Tautua Samoa party

3:39 pm on 6 March 2011

The leader of Samoa's newly re-elected Human Rights Protection party says he is looking forward to working with a strong opposition.

The HRPP won 36 seats last night, including 7 independents who are expected to support the party, to the opposition Tautua Samoa Party's 13.

Megan Whelan reports from Apia.

"Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says his party will listen to the opposition, despite having a two-thirds majority in parliament. The opposition says it intends to be the strong opposition Tuilaepa has been asking for for many years. However, it says it is talking to independent MPs, to try to bolster its numbers to the 17 required to block constitutional amendments. The HRPP will vote on its Prime Minister in the coming days, and a cabinet announcement is expected 2 weeks from now."

Meanwhile, three government ministers were defeated: Justice Minister Unasa Mesi Galo, Communications Minister Safuneituuga Paga Neri and Eduation Minister Toomata Poese Alapati Toomata.

Only two of the nine women candidates won.

They are Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow.

A final count will take up to two weeks and could affect some seats, including that of the leader of Tautua Samoa Va'ai Papu Vailupe, who held his seat by only 25 votes.