26 Jan 2019

Samoa government MPs oppose constituencies bill

8:48 am on 26 January 2019

Two petitions have been tabled in the Samoa Parliament against the proposed Electoral Constituencies Act.

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Photo: supplied / Forum Secretariat

The bill is intended to ensure no constituency has more than one member of Parliament.

On Tuesday, the former cabinet minister and current associate minister of agriculture, Fa'aso'otauloa Pātī, tabled the first petition on behalf of his

constituency Gagaemauga No 2.

The second was tabled the next day by another former cabinet minister, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, on behalf of Tafua village in the Palauli le Falefa constituency.

The petitions prompted the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, to accuse the former ministers of negligence.

Tuilaepa said people who had been cabinet ministers should know that his government does not take electoral issues lightly.

In the past some of the more populated constituencies have held two seats which has led to block voting, meaning some voters may not represented in Parliament.

But the division of the constituencies has created concern that traditional districts are being split up.

Tuilaepa said this matter had been considered in three stages and government was heading into the final stage to ensure every constituency had one MP only.