Voting in church buildings keeps order in Samoa election

The orderly and peaceful way Samoa’s general election took place has been ascribed in part to a decision to have most polling booths in church buildings.

The Samoa Observer reported that the decision “contributed largely to absence of violence and unruly behaviour in most villages”.

The presence of church pastors at voting places also helped with security, the newspaper stated.

The election on March 4 saw Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and his Human Rights Protection Party collective prevail.

Five cabinet ministers lost their seats in the election.

At a thanksgiving service on March 6, Rev. Toailoa Peleti of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa urged HRPP party members to put God first as he is the creator of all things.

“God has chosen all of you to be the caretakers of the people and leaders of the country,” Rev. Toailoa said.

“So you need to lead with love and honesty.

“You have been chosen by the people of your constituency because they trust and believe in you.

“It is God’s will for you to be here and through the people he has made it happen.”

The leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalue Fa’apo II, congratulated the Prime Minister, but expressed fears about Samoa’s future.

“Without an opposition, we are now a one party state,” he said.

Samoan law requires a party to have at least eight members to be recognised as an opposition by Parliament.

As of March 9, the Tautua Party had only three members in Parliament.

Mr Fa’apo said there had been a lot of bribery during the elections.

“There was a lot of money that had been floated around. It was the use of money where the election result was determined.”

Sources

News category: Asia Pacific.

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