17 Sep 2012

American Samoa Governor to push for Senators to be elected

1:33 pm on 17 September 2012

American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono is planning to introduce legislation seeking the election of senators.

At present senators are selected from ranking matai or chiefs through the consensus of village councils.

Three directors told KHJ News that the election of senators was one of the issues the governor spoke about during a Cabinet meeting last week.

They say the governor has plans to push for the election of senators in 2016 and gave several reasons for the move.

According to the directors, the governor doesn't believe his proposal would be passed by the Fono, but he wants the idea to be in the minds of the people.

The governor told Cabinet the reason the Senate chamber was established was because the original government was run by Westerners and traditional leaders were needed to provide a balance.

But he says now that the whole government is operated by Samoans, having senators elected by the people will not have any adverse effect on American Samoan culture.