FAST Party

Extra seat thrown out: FAST wins Samoa election

It means the decision breaks a month-long deadlock from the April election, handing the newcomer FAST party a majority.

The electoral office last month added the extra seat purportedly to meet a provision in the constitution that 10 percent of seats are reserved for women.

That extra seat fell to the caretaker HRPP government, creating a 26-all deadlock.

But the Supreme Court today returned a unanimous verdict ruling that decision was unconstitutional.

Parties consider strategies for a second election in Samoa

It was ordered by the Head of State as means to break the deadlock, with the ruling HRPP and the Opposition FAST party tied on 26 parliamentary seats apiece.

The move has been condemned by the FAST party as unconstitutional, but until the court passes down its decisions, candidates are left with little option but to push ahead on the assumption that the Samoan people will go back to the polls in 11 days' time.

So will either of the two main parties change their strategy this time?

FAST donors ‘shocked and disappointed’ at second Samoa election bid

Samoa's Head of State, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi, called for a fresh ballot after a dramatic series of events following the first election in early April.

The FAST Party looked set to topple the incumbent Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), before a controversial interpretation of Samoa's gender quota law saw the HRPP granted an extra female MP.

Both major parties now hold 26 seats.

The announcement of a second election to be held on May 21 has frustrated voters in the country, who will have to travel to vote in their constituencies.

Strike out request dismissed - Samoa's FAST motion before court next week

This comes as two parties, tied at 26 seats each, battle to become the new Samoa government.

The Supreme Court today dismissed a request from the Attorney General's office which was seeking to have the motion from the FAST party struck out.

Political newcomers FAST had asserted that the Office of the Electoral Commissioner was wrong to make the appointment of a 6th woman.

The office had done this to ensure at least ten percent of the seats in the then 51 seat house were filled by women, after five had won their seats in the poll on April 9th.

Legal difficulties over challenges from Samoa's FAST

They had wanted the rival HRPP winning candidate in the Fa'asaleleaga 5 constituency, Peseta Vaifou Tevagaena, declared ineligible to sit in parliament, because of a criminal conviction that hadn't been disclosed to the Electoral Commission.

But the lawyers today asked the Supreme Court to withdraw the challenge after realising they had had their wires crossed.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said the charges Peseta had faced carried penalties that would not have barred him from entering parliament.

Samoa Electoral Commissioner's action 'unconstitutional' says FAST

The Electoral Commissioner announced last night that Ali'imalemanu Moti Momoemausu Alofa Tuuau would become the 52nd MP to ensure that a minimum of 10 percent of seats in the parliament are held by women.

In the poll 12 days ago, five women were elected and FAST party leader, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, said they considered that that satisfied the constitutional requirement, because the document specifies five seats for women.

Fiame says Samoa diaspora key for FAST

Fiame's party has tentatively won 25 seats in the new parliament, the same as the caretaker Human Rights Protection Party, with one seat held by an independent.

Fiame told RNZ’s Dateline that she anticipates results to be completed this week or early next week.

“So it’s really to await the outcome. Whether there are any changes or not and until we have that official result than we will know how things will progress.”

Fiame also commended the team for FAST party’s meteoric rise.

Samoa HRPP and FAST parties 25 seats tie on preliminary count

The Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi party leader, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, told reporters the number of seats her party has won in a media conference last night while the office of the Electoral Commission was still counting the preliminary results.

An independent candidate, Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio, who won the seat for Gaga'emauga number one is now the king maker for both parties to form a new government.

But FAST party leader said the process of negotiating with the independent candidate would be carried out soon.

Samoan diaspora seeks more political say

Covid travel restrictions and significant financial remittances have sparked debate over whether citizens living offshore should be allowed to vote.

There are 500,000 Samoans living in New Zealand, the US, Australia and elsewhere, while just 200,000 in Samoa itself.

Although there is no clear data on how many of the diaspora are Samoan citizens, there are concerns extended voting rights could dictate elections results.

Academic says Samoa's FAST party getting around village blocks

Samoa goes to the polls on 9 April.

Victoria University's Dr Iati Iati said FAST had been successful at adopting new technology and social media to communicate.

The politics and international relations senior lecturer said the move by some village chiefs to block the party from physically campaigning had limited success in the digital age.

"Nearly everyone has a cellphone. Everyone can communicate very easily with everyone so while they may have restricted FAST's engagement with certain villages etc, FAST's message is, it's getting through to the people."