15 Mar 2011

Tautua Samoa leader offers help to pressured voters

1:47 pm on 15 March 2011

The leader of the opposition Tautua Samoa party, Vaai Papu, says he'll help voters go to court if they're banished from their village over their election choice.

He said many people from the village of Asau on Savaii voted for him in this month's general election, but at least one family's being investigated because they didn't vote for the opposing candidate as the village council had told them to do.

He says there are many in Asau who take it for granted that the village council has the power to do this but that's not the case.

"Banishing them for not voting (a certain way) is against the law. They do banish people for certain crimes like if someone murders someone but banishing a family who are the voters, from a village, because they don't vote is very undemocratic."

Vaai Papu says the problem is still widespread in Samoa.

A police spokesman says it has not received a single complaint about such pressure on voters in this election so far.