26 Feb 2016

Push for separate election of Lt. governor in American Samoa

4:56 pm on 26 February 2016

A bill for the separate election of the governor and lieutenant governor in American Samoa has been introduced in the senate.

American Samoa's House of Representatives chamber during the vote on the bill to increase salaries.

The American Samoa legislature Photo: Supplied

If passed, it would change the constitution so that the top two leaders of the executive branch would no longer be elected as a team.

If none of the candidates receives a majority of the votes cast in an election for either the governor or lieutenant governor there would be a run off election between the top two vote getters for each office.

The bill's chief sponsor, Senator Soliai Tuipine, said many people had expressed a desire to have the governor and lieutenant governor nominated and elected separately.

Since it involves a constitutional change, the bill would have to be passed by three-fifths of all members of each chamber, after which it would go to referendum in the next general election.

If voters approved, the governor then submitted it to the Secretary of the Interior for approval or disapproval.