24 Jan 2012

Samoa to probe voter eligibility in traditional village constituency

6:24 pm on 24 January 2012

The eligibility of outsiders living on freehold land to vote for a traditional village constituency will again be reviewed by a Commission of Inquiry into Samoa's Electoral Act.

The inquiry, which gets underway on February the 7th, will consider possible changes to the Electoral Act and will seek public submissions.

Recommendations are due before cabinet three months later.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says for example one of the fastest growing urban districts near Apia, is Faleata West.

"The traditional villages in that constituency are Puipa'a, Toamua, Vaitele, Vaiusu, but also included in that constituency, are people who are living there on freehold land. So that is another task of the Commission of Inquiry, whether those people are now going to have their own Member of Parliament representing them in politics, and have just the traditional villages in that constituency of Faleata West, vote for a different MP."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says also under review will be the Act's provision relating to special voting booths, whether public servants need to resign before becoming election candidates, and legislative provisions to change the two individual voters' seats to two urban seats.