Pre-polling has begun in Samoa for six by-elections

Seven by-elections had been planned, but the Savai'i's only by-election was decided on Monday, when the Supreme Court disqualified one of two registered candidates in the Falealupo electoral constituency, handing the FAST Party the Falealupo seat, unopposed.

In a special programme posted on social media, Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio confirmed that Fuiono Tenina Chrichton will be the unopposed member for the Falealupo seat.

Samoa court reserves decision in seat challenge

Yesterday, the court heard the appeal from the Electoral Commissioner and HRPP candidate Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau on Article 44 of the Constitution that requires an additional women's seat if elected women do not make up 10 percent of parliament.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the five elected women members met the requirements under Article 44 but the appellants contend there should be a sixth seat to meet the required 10 percent.

That ruling gave the FAST party a majority.

Samoa to head to the polls again on 21 May

The announcement was made after a meeting with the leaders of the caretaker Human Rights Protection Party and the newcomer Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi FAST party today.

Both parties have been tied with 26 seats each since last month's general election. 

In his address this evening, the Head of State said leaders of both parties are aware of his decision.

He said it is in the best interest of Samoa that fresh elections be held to allow our people a second opportunity to elect the 17th parliament.

Samoa Election 2021 – Opinion by Nanai Anae Dr Iati Iati

It has been a while, and it has been even longer since a different political party was in government. Nanai Anae Dr Iati Iati offered his insights to the Pacific Cooperation Foundation into the mood of the nation, the most pressing issues facing the nation, who might win, and whether the nation is ready for change.

The Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) has been in power since 1982, apart from a brief respite in the late 1980s, when a coalition government (led by a breakaway group of HRPP members) held office.

Samoan mayors warned they should support government

The Samoa Observer newspaper reported Tuitama Dr .Talalelei Tuitama, saying village representatives had been well informed about their duties, but were not taking them seriously.

"It saddens me that some village representatives don't follow these guidelines," he said.

Village mayors are selected by the matai councils and approved by government, who had the power to terminate the appointments.

Facebook shuts Uganda government-linked accounts

The social media giant said a network connected with the ministry of information had been using fake and duplicate accounts to impersonate users and boost the popularity of posts.

In a BBC interview, the government accused Facebook of being biased.

The run-up to the election has been marred by tension and violence.

After 35 years in power, President Yoweri Museveni, 76, is being strongly challenged by music star Bobi Wine, who is 38 and draws much of his support from young people.

Samoa’s Week of Prayer and Fasting begins 3 January

And Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has urged everyone “to join us to thank God for the challenges we had come through in the past as well as the opportunities that have emerged with the crises.”

”May God remain at the helm of Samoa’s journey through 2021,” Tuilaepa said as part of his New Year’s message.

Here is the rest of the message.

Lemanu and Talauega win American Samoa gubernatorial race

Results released by the office this morning show the pair securing 7,154 of the 11,861 votes counted, more than 60 percent of the votes.

It is the first time in more than 30 years that there won't be a run-off election in the gubernatorial race.

According to the election office Lemanu and Talauega won 7,154 votes (60.3 percent) of the 11,861 votes counted Gaoteote and Faiivae garnered 2,594 votes or( 21.9 percent) , I'aulualo and Tapaau polled 1,461 votes, (12.3 percent) and Nua and Satele received 652 ballots, (5.5 percent).

Kiribati goes to polls as normal despite Covid-19 threat

Earlybird voter Linda Uan said there was handshaking and smiles as voters left the booth in her area.

She was part of a small lineup of less than a dozen voters as the booth she joined opened at 7am this morning.

Ms Uan said despite health warnings all weekend, including recommendations of social distancing and good hygiene, there was nothing different from the last elections.

She said people seemed to be more excited about exercising their right to vote rather than feeling nervous or fearful of the threat of Covid-19.

Solomons election fraudster registered seven aliases

Police said the 50-year-old man from Malaita province used different dates of birth and other details for each alias.

Only one of them was his true identity.

He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with seven counts of providing misleading information, an offence under the country's new Electoral Act, which carries a maximum penalty of $US6,000 or five years imprisonment or both.

Police said more election fraud cases relating to the voter registration period were being investigated.