Early voting starts in Samoa election

More than 8,000 voters is Samoa are eligible to cast their votes from today ahead of Friday's general election.

Polling booths opened this morning for a four-day pre-polling period.

189 candidates, including 21 women, are contesting the 50 seats for a five-year term in the legislative assembly.

RNZ Pacific reports the ruling Human Rights Protect party has 105 candidates, FAST or Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa party has 52, Tautua Samoa party 14, Samoa First five, the Sovereign Independent Samoa party one, and 12 candidates are independents.

Originally more than 200 candidates were registered but several were forced to withdraw after the court found they failed to meet the eligibility requirements under the Electoral Act.

Campaigning ended on Saturday at midnight.

From Wednesday, a ban on the sale of alcohol will start and last until the morning after the election.