25 Feb 2016

Samoa election fails to interest young voters

8:14 am on 25 February 2016
Temporary Samoa Parliament at Tuana'imato sport complex.

Temporary Samoa Parliament at Tuana'imato sport complex. Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Samoa's acting Electoral Commissioner is disheartened that thousands of young people failed to register to vote in the country's upcoming general election.

Samoa will go to the polls next week, on March 4, with about 116,000 people registered to vote.

Faimalotumua Mathew Lemisio said while interest in the elections is generally intensifying, most new eligible voters appear to have failed to register.

The Commission is yet to finalise the numbers, but very few of those born in the years 1990-1995 have registered he said.

"It's really disheartening, because we've working with a lot of young people over the years, the past couple of years and when that number came out, it's a bit disappointing."

"So you know, our hands are now tied and our only option is to now turn to the law. We're heading towards 10 thousand, and that's quite a significant number of unregistered voters."

Faimalotumua said once numbers are finalised, the list of those who have not registered will be referred to the national prosecution office for advice on whether to initiate charges.

Those who have not registered could face fines of up to US$1,500.