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Cabinet Receives Electoral Commission of Inquiry’s Report

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 8 MAY 2023: The Commission of Inquiry that reviewed the Electoral Act and Election Process has presented its report to Cabinet.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa confirmed receipt of the report with recommendations and will be tabled in Parliament when it convenes at the end of the month.

The 10 member Commission of Inquiry which was chaired by the former Public Service Commissioner Tu’u’u Ieti Taulealo, consulted with 51 electoral constituencies on issues of concerns raised by voters after the 2021 general elections.

Some of the key issues included in the consultations were:

  • Electoral Roll,
  • Women representation in politics,
  • Electoral/political constituencies boundaries,
  • Eligibility of election candidates.
  • Registration of political parties,
  • Offences and legal issues,
  • Opportunity for Samoan overseas to vote and
  • Responsibilities and Obligations of the Office of the Electoral Commission.

Two of the issues the majority of voters spoke on were the removal of the 10% Quota for women in Parliament and allowing Samoan diaspora to be able to vote from overseas.

These issues were hotly debated by members of the public during consultations with the majority calling for the removal of the 10 percent quota for women and allow women to contest on their own merits.

The consultation also saw voters in the Vaimauga and Faleata districts calling for the reinstatement of Urban District Seats due to the discrepancy in the current system where matais residing on free hold properties in these constituencies can only vote but cannot stand as candidates against matais from the traditional villages being grouped together under these constituencies.

There have also been suggestions to put these major questions to a plebiscite.