5 Mar 2016

Samoa's ruling party ahead

9:13 am on 5 March 2016

Samoa's ruling party has won another landslide victory according to preliminary results from Friday's election.

The victory for the party of long-time Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has dealt a huge blow for the opposition Tautua Samoa Party, which has been decimated.

While the final count is yet to be released, it is all but certain that the ruling Human Rights Protection Party will command a two-thirds majority of parliament.

However, at least three of Prime Minister Malielegaoi's Cabinet Ministers have been voted out and replaced by younger members of the same party.

Meanwhile, the opposition Tautua Samoa Party is struggling to gain the eight seats required to even qualify as a party in parliament.

Its leader, Palusalue Fa'apo II, was voted out in his constituency, along with at least five of his twelve MPs.

Tautua Samoa Party's Palusalue and Afualo holds up the Tautua Samoa Party newspaper

Tautua Samoa Party's Palusalue and Afualo holds up the Tautua Samoa Party newspaper Photo: Newsline Samoa

Four female candidates have also won seats, and there could be a record number of women MPs according to our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia.

"So far we have four women candidates winning seats in parliament, so we're still waiting for other candidates from the constituencies on Savai'i."

A recent constitutional amendment reserves five seats -- or ten percent -- of Parliament for women MPs.

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Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

Meanwhile Tuilaepa delivered a short statement to media before midnight, confirming that preliminary counts show HRPP have secured 44 seats of a possible 49.

Tuilaepa said as leader, and on behalf of the Human Rights Protection Party, he wanted to extend his gratitude to all of Samoa for the support, and the overwhelming vote of confidence in his party's vision for the country.

He also added he wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and commend the leadership of the opposition, the Tautua Party, adding it's not been an easy journey, and he congratulated Tautua MPs for the commitment to represent their constituencies and their party with such dedication.

The Prime Minister also touched on the role of the media in this General Election.

"This is probably the first Election that has fully utilised the media for campaigning and reaching out to voters across the board" he said.

"The media coverage of candidates and political issues, has really led to important discussions and awareness of issues that our communities must consider for the future development of Samoa."

"As candidates, all we can do is share with voters what we believe is best for Samoa, but the final decision is not ours. It's up to the voters, the people of Samoa, to decide who they want to lead the government and the country."

"My sympathy goes out to the Members of Parliament, especially the Cabinet Ministers who have been unsuccessful in retaining their seats.

"They deserve our thanks for their commitment and hard work to meet the needs of their constituents, as well as fulfilling their duties and service as Cabinet Ministers."

"But that is the nature of elections. You can only do your best, and hope that voters will choose you again. But as we see time and again, it's often unpredictable."

Samoa election officials

Samoa election officials Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia