7 Mar 2012

Samoa forum reveals anger over reserved seats bill

4:12 pm on 7 March 2012

The chairperson of the newly-formed Samoa Women's Leadership Group says women are angry they weren't consulted over a bill to increase their numbers in parliament.

Dr Viopapa Annandale says a large number of women attended a forum last week in Apia on the proposal to amend the constitution and create five reserved seats for women.

She says women at the forum agreed on the bill's intent, which is to guarantee them a minimum of 10 percent of parliamentary seats.

But Dr Annandale says the meeting revealed serious concern about the process.

"It brought out very strongly that there had been no prior consultation, that if there had been I think we would have come up with a better process than that proposed by government. But we are now stuck with having to decide to we support this bill in its entirety or are we going to start challenging it and then maybe delay the final passage of the bill."

Dr Viopapa Annandale says a submission being drafted on the bill may recommend a separate electoral roll for women.