24 Apr 2021

Clear that Samoans want change - academic

12:01 pm on 24 April 2021

A Samoan New Zealand academic says the recent general election in Samoa is a clear indication the country has voted for change.

After the recent ballot, the incumbent HRPP and newcomer FAST parties have 26 seats each in parliament.

Auckland University's Pacific jurisprudence specialist Tamasailau Suaalii said the massive swing of support away from Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and his HRPP party shows a desire for change.

Dr Suaalii said the support for FAST reflects the country's changing wishes, "I don't think it's a question of attacking Tuilaepa or attacking HRPP, it's more a statement of, this is a party that we feel is going to back or carry out a policy or government that will support what we want."

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, left, and Fiame Naomi Mata'afa

Photo: RNZ Pacific / Tipi Autagavaia

Suaalii said both parties need to recognise the appetite for change.

She said if the current legal challenges don't determine a winner, parties may focus on political defections.

Suaalii said this is likely under way already but another general election is not off the cards.

"I think it's a stepping stone, so you do one which is the least invasive and then the next one and then the next one, and by invasive I mean imposing on people's time and resources and the country's resource so the election option, going to another election, is going to be a huge cost to the nation," Suaalii said.