22 Apr 2016

Samoa: Dropping of petitions leaves unanswered questions

8:52 am on 22 April 2016

There are calls in Samoa for the electoral court to disallow the withdrawal of petitions alleging corrupt electioneering by members of parliament.

Samoa parliament offices.

Samoa parliament offices. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Six such petitions were filed following this year's general election, but later withdrawn by the petitioners following suspected pressure from political parties and village chiefs.

Stricter electoral laws in Samoa have outlawed the practice of treating in which gifts like food, money and fine mats were bestowed on voters by candidates.

But our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said the withdrawal of the petitions left allegations of treating untested.

"We were talking with other people in court who suggested that in the next general election they should not allow any petition filed to be withdrawn unless all the allegations are heard in court and let the court decide," he said.

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