More than 700 people have signed a petition within a few days of its launch asking the House of Representatives to urge the New Zealand Government to review the 2021 General Election in Samoa, to ensure it has gone through a free, fair, and democratic process.
The petition by Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu states the conduct of the Office of the Electoral Commission (OEC) of Samoa in the general election raises doubts whether there has been (but not limited to) the appointment of an MP who did not win their constituency.
Debate continues in Samoa and abroad about the decision made in a late notice issued on social media on Tuesday 20 April by the OEC confirming that the threshold of 10 percent female representation in Parliament had not been met in the April 9 election.
In 2013 an amendment was made to Samoa’s Constitution that after each election a minimum of 10 percent of the elected members must be women.
Five women candidates were successful at the completion of the final count of votes, however the Samoa OEC confirmed they were seeking legal advice on whether another woman must be brought into Parliament.
The document shared on the Office of the Electoral Commission Samoa Facebook page, signed by the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, declared that a warrant of election was issued for Aliimalemanu Moti Moemoemausu Alofa Tuuau of Alataua Sifiso.
Aliimalemanu, candidate for the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), was not successful in her bid to re-enter parliament losing by more than 200 votes to the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party candidate Seuula Ioane.
Both HRPP and FAST (with independent MP Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio) are currently tied with 26 seats each. With both parties deadlocked, the country waits for the decision by the Samoa Supreme Court on the legalities of appointing another woman MP.
The petition outlines that as New Zealand is an aid donor and close friend of Samoa, New Zealand must ensure its aid and support is not being misused in supporting unfair election processes.
The closing date for the petition is 22 May.