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HRPP books crushing win over Tautua Samoa

History was made when Samoa’s Human Rights Protection Party crushed the opposition Tautua Samoa Party leaving them with only two seats. Led by unopposed Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Samoa’s HRPP won 46 seats, leaving two for the Tautua Samoa Party with one Independent seat, according to results issued by Samoa’s Electoral Office. Opposition leader Palusalue Faapo II lost this seat.


Hours after the election last week Tuilaepa delivered a short statement to media saying, “As the leader, and on behalf of the Human Rights Protection Party, I would like to extend my gratitude to all of Samoa for the support, and the overwhelming vote of confidence in our vision for this country. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge and commend the Leadership of the Opposition, the Tautua Party.”


He also spoke about the role of the media during the general election, which is conducted every five years. "This is probably the first Election that has fully utilized the media for campaigning and reaching out to voters across the board. The media coverage of candidates and political issues has really led to important discussions and awareness of issues that our communities must consider for the future development of Samoa.”


Tuilaepa sympathized with the Ministers who did not return following the election. "But that is the nature of elections. You can only do your best, and hope that voters will choose you again.  But as we see time and again, it's often unpredictable. Looking at the results, about half of Parliament's seats are going to change. This is democracy at work," he said.


The HRPP also has a new Party Deputy, Lotofaga’s Member of Parliament and long-serving Cabinet Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa who is being celebrated as the new Deputy Prime Minister. Efforts to obtain comments directly from Fiame over email to confirm this were unsuccessful.


Samoa Observer reports that Fiame would not be drawn into the specifics of the vote but she said she was honored by the party’s faith in her. “I’m happy not only for my constituency but for the sake of gender equality in Samoa. It sets a pathway for us and for other females to recognize their potential.” She believes women need to participate and engage in the political dialogue and developments to give themselves a chance to be appointed to such high offices.


Fiame said women could only be part of the political leadership if they are proactive, participate and remain engaged. “Starting from when I was a young matai, I lived in the village for seven years before I ran for office,” she said. “From there, you begin to do the work. Being a Member of Parliament becomes your career and in the process you gain general knowledge and understanding.”


Being an MP she reminded is “not based on one person’s idea, it’s a collective effort.” According to Fiame, trust is a crucial element for anyone who aspires to such a position. “Although the perception in politics is that it’s a dangerous game, I think if people are focused on what they should focus on, programs that will benefit the majority in improving the quality of life and not just what the MP wants.”


Asked if the appointment would mean she would automatically become the Deputy Prime Minister, she said there are technicalities in terms of the position.


“This appointment (DPM) is a party appointment,” she explained. 


“But the Prime Minister has indicated he would of course take into consideration the vote of the party. I think it’s an issue that needs to be aligned. Just as our leader is the Prime minister, I think it’s the most sensible thing that the Deputy Leader also becomes the Deputy Prime Minister. But those are the technical aspects that need to be aligned…”


She added it is an issue that should be addressed in the upcoming Parliament sessions. At the meeting, the party also unanimously agreed for Tuilaepa to continue as leader. With the HRPP returning to Parliament in Friday’s General Elections with such force, Fiame said “we would have to question our sanity if we change our leader.


“So I think the party also is rewarding the Prime Minister for his leadership. There are some areas he’s not very popular, but he’s the leader and we’ve been able to put down a program from our last manifesto and what we would do.” Fiame said although they have a plan, changes are possible where necessary.


She made reference to new members coming in who might have different ideas. “You can never get away from the basics like the electricity, water and roads,” she said, “but more of the social elements aspects of law and justice, those kind of things that sometimes in a small economy like ours doesn’t necessarily get the prioritization. But it all depends on what the members say, what they want.”


Fiame, 58, first entered Parliament as the MP for Lotofaga in 1985. She has been a Cabinet Minister since 1991 and has held multiple Cabinet portfolios. In the last Parliamentary sitting, she was the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration.


For a complete list of winners click on attachment below.