13 Apr 2021

Samoa election result likely to be tested in court

7:21 am on 13 April 2021

The outcome of last Friday's Samoa election is highly likely to be decided by the courts, even after the final vote count is completed.

The HRPP leader and caretaker prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed that his party will take the FAST party to court for 'treading on the rule of law'.

The FAST Party leader Fiame Naomi Mataafa said going to court after elections was part of the normal process.

The Samoa Electoral Commission show votes being tallied during the general election in the capital city of Apia

The Samoa Electoral Commission show votes being tallied during the general election in the capital city of Apia Photo: AFP or licensors

As the final vote count continues, the preliminary numbers are unchanged, with HRPP and FAST at 25 seats each, plus one independent.

Fiame, who may become the next prime minister, said the support of the country's diaspora for her FAST party was critical for her party.

She said she was very impressed with what FAST managed to do in just a few months after forming last July.

"I think what we have been able to achieve is quite phenomenal. And I must credit the team and the immense support, not only locally but the Samoan diaspora. You know it is quite a phenomena. I would like to have a bit of time to see how that happened and why it was happening", she said.

Fiame said the way the previous government rammed through three controversial land bills was a major factor in the success of her FAST Party.

"In terms of how well they are protected or how well their interests are being protected, especially with these three bills. You will understand of course that the whole issue of land and titles here in Samoa is very central to Samoans and how they live their lives," Fiame said.

The electoral commissioner said while the counting process was slow, it ensured both transparency and accuracy so that the public can have full confidence in the results.

There is speculation that if the election results stand, the single independent candidate, Tuala Tevaga Iosefa Ponifasio, will have the crucial casting vote to determine the government for the next five years.

The final vote count continues today and the final result will then be handed to the Head of State to issue warrants of appointment and set a date for the first sitting of the new Parliament expected to be before the end of the month.