Debate over recommendations following Inquiry into 2021 election continues


One of the recommendations by a Parliamentary Committee into the Commission of Inquiry report for the General Election 2021 is to repeal the current Electoral Constituency Act 2019. 

However, to re-establish the traditional Constituency from 1991 to 2016, including reinstating the Puleono i Salafai. 

This structure consisted of 49 parliamentary seats, and the Committee believes that this arrangement aligns closely with traditional district boundaries. 

Member of Parliament of Satupa’itea, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, said recommendations the Committee has disapproved involve his constituency, especially recommendations to divide his district. Noting that Satupaitea holds one of the six traditional authorities ‘pule’ of Salafai.

Lautafi also objected to the recommendations to remove the 10% quota for women’s representation in Parliament as stipulated in the Constitution. 

He said the recommendation by the Committee is based only on a small number of residents who provided their opinions, and this is not an adequate number to draw such drastic measures.

Furthermore, Lautafi said Samoa is part of international organizations, and they have signed international agreements on the involvement of women in politics and asserted that Members and everyone must support the increase of women’s representation in politics.

He then asserted that politics had put women in an unfavorable situation by turning the quota into a mathematical equation/issue. Member of Parliament Tuu’u Anasi’i Leota expressed his support for removing the 10% quota because nothing hinders women from entering Parliament. 

He said this should apply to countries like Pakistan and other countries that suppress women’s rights; however, for Samoa, women are empowered.

Tuu’u further noted that for future instances after any General Election, members should avoid submitting petitions against women who have won seats in Parliament.

This can be a way forward instead of implementing the 10% Quota. He further noted that he disagreed with the introduction and passing of this provision.