New candidates barred from second Samoan poll, fresh election tantamount to a coup

PINA – 06:23 am GMT+12, 06/05/2021, Samoa

New candidates will not be allowed to contest Samoa’s second election of the year.
The head of state called a new election after April’s election wound up in a protracted deadlock, with the two sides on 26 seats each.
According to the writs issued by the head of state, only candidates who contested April’s election can run in this month’s one.
If any of the nearly 200 candidates don’t want to go a second round, they have until tomorrow to withdraw.
The second election is scheduled to be held on 21 May.
But that remains uncertain, with the FAST party today filing a Supreme Court challenge to the Head of State’s decision.
Its leader, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, said the announcement was tantamount to a coup.
Asked to describe the Tuesday night announcement that Samoa will be asked to vote again, Mata’afa said it was equal to an illegal seizure of power.
“Coups are about [the] takeover of power without law, that is definitely what it is,” she told the Samoa Observer.   
“Our only recourse is the law and taking the message out to the community of what is happening,” she said.
Caretaker prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi backs a second poll.
Meanwhile, there are suggestions that members of the caretaker government Human Rights Protection Party in Samoa are defecting.
News of the defections started circulating after one member who is challenging an HRPP winning candidate was apparently represented by the law firm engaged by the Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – or FAST – party.
Sources says HRPP leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told a candidates meeting Wednesday that some members had gone over to FAST.
He specifically asked if former MP Tafua Maluelue was present but he wasn’t.
Tafua, a two time MP, was an election night loser to another HRPP candidate running in his first election.
Two other HRPP losing election candidates are suing election night HRPP candidate winners.



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