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There is once again a woman in the House

Fa’auifono Vaitautolu
reporters@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Election Officer, Uiagalelei Lealofi has “certified” as official the results of the Sept. 12 Special Election for House District #1- Manu’a, in which female candidate, Fa’auifono Vaitautolu, is the winner, receiving the highest number of votes in the ballots counted.

The certification was made after the seven-day period expired at 4:30p.m. Sept. 19, for anyone to contest the results of the Special Election for House District #1 Manu’a — which comprises Ta’u, Faleasao and Fitiuta.

Pursuant to local election law, “the deadline for contesting the results of the Special Election for District#1-Manu'a has expired,” said Uiagalelei in the certification notice released after 4:30p.m. on Sept. 19.

Therefore, Uiagalelei certified as official, the results of the Special Election, in which Vaitautolu is the “winner”, with the highest number of votes at 203 (or 48.1%) out of the total ballots of 422 that were counted from the Special Election.

Paepaetele Mapu Jamias received the second highest number of votes at 128, followed by Mailo Oge T. Nua with 48 votes and Leifitele Aliitama Sotoa with 43 votes.

Vaitautolu — who served as deputy Education Department director for many years until the Lemanu Administration took office in January 2021 —  will fill the seat left vacant following the passing in June this year of Rep. Alumamalu Ale Filoialii.

Samoa News notes that there are two seats for House District #1 Manu’a. The other seat is held by veteran lawmaker and current Vice Speaker, Fetui Fetu Jr.

Vaitautolu, a veteran educator and teacher, will be the only woman in the House of Representatives during the current 38th Legislature. She will have to stand for re-election if she wishes to retain a seat  in the 39th Legislature.

Samoa News notes that the Senate also has only one woman in its numbers and that is Sen. Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata.