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APIA,SAMOA- APRIL  20,2021 (TALAMUA ONLINE NEWS/PACNEWS): The Independent candidate holding the balance of power following a 25-25 tie in Samoa’s general elections of 09 April 2021 has yet to decide.

In a recorded message sent to the media Monday, Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio said he was negotiating with the leaders of HRPP and FAST..

He said that whichever side he will join, “will form a Government to deliver God’s will for Samoa through a Government that will lead with honesty, integrity and compassion.”

He also called the country for patience and calm.

In a press conference in the weekend, FAST Leader Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa said the interest of the country is upmost at heart.

“I think all of us who are elected have the interest of the country at heart and, whoever takes the helm will look into ensuring (and with those kinds of numbers) the Parliament will be able to come into some kind of arrangements of how we can progress,” she said.

She emphasised that the whole point of a general election is to elect a Parliament and a Government and it is very important that happens.

Independent candidate Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio is the key factor in that equation.

Then there are court petitions that had decided the Government of the day in the past like in 1982 when Samoa had 3 different Governments and Prime Ministers in one year.

Court petitions sometimes result in by-elections and a change of Government, and FAST is currently preparing their petitions not only against candidates of the other party but also on irregularities identified under the Electoral Act.

Whilst Fiamē commended the Electoral Commissioner and his team for the hard work during the election week, she also pointed to areas that need to be addressed and improved.

These include the four days of pre-polling that consumed too much resources unnecessarily and could have been done in one or two days.

On election day, some of FAST candidates were told by election officials at polling booths that they could not vote.

“The message is, there is not enough training for skills and know-how for them to do the work,” she said.

Fiamē also referred to the much debated issue in Parliament about the unfair treatment of Savaii voters who had to travel to their constituencies to vote as Special Votes have been quashed as a cost saving measure.

She referred to the scene at the Mulifanua wharf where people lined up for hours for a chance to get on-board the boats for Savaii. There were mothers and their babies squeezed in the crowds “as they had no one to look after the children if they had to travel overnight to Savaii to vote.

There is also the added cost for voters to travel over and return and these were some of the issues raised by FAST during their road shows.

“As a new party, FAST needs to maintain a broader base as they could not have achieved what they have in such a short span of time if it were not for the broader support of its members,” said  Fiame.

“Political parties come and die out and HRPP survived for this long and in reviewing history I think if you want a political party to survive  then you need to maintain a broader base,” she said.

“This can only be done through the extended body of membership for the party and it’s another journey for FAST,” she said……

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