THE CONVERSATION – April 12, 2021 5.55pm AEST
Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two major parties.
This is a stunning and unexpected electoral rebuke of the ruling party, the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), which has dominated Samoa for four decades.
What are the results so far?
Coming into the election, HRPP held 47 of the 51 seats and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi predicted his party would win 42 of the 51 seats. It only won 25.
The nine-month-old opposition, Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party, also won 25 seats, just shy of the 26 needed to form government outright.
FAST’s leader, former Deputy Prime Minister Sa’o Faapito Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, says her party will consider a coalition deal with the winner of the 51st seat, independent Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio.
Tuala has indicated he favours change. But Tuilaepa – a formidable and longstanding leader of 23 years — has not yet conceded defeat. Meanwhile, recounts and potential challenges to results will also slow a final outcome.
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