SLRF calls for further review of the electoral framework, after events of the 2021 elections


The events of the 2021 General Elections, when Samoa’s government was in limbo prompted the Samoa Law Reform Commission to conduct preliminary research into the history of the previous five General Elections from 1996 up until 2016; for comparative analysis.  

According to the Annual Report for the financial year 2021-2022, the Samoa Law Reform Commission’s main focus of this initiative was to document and analyse the legal processes and steps in the past general elections in comparison to the 2021 General Elections processes. 

Preliminary research and comparative analysis of the 2021 General Elections and the previous 5 elections were stopped due to a change in priorities. 

Nonetheless, it was recorded in the annual report indicating the summary of the work conducted

“In the five previous General Election (GE) years (1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016), in one GE year, the Head of State (HOS) made only one (1) Proclamation for Parliament to convene (with a subsequent summons for the Legislative Assembly to meet (first official meeting) after the first convening and swearing in of Members of Parliament).  

“However in 2021, HOS made a total of 4 Proclamations: – Two separate proclamations for Parliament to convene; and – Two other proclamations made for the first time in Parliament GE 2021, the proclamation for fresh elections and a proclamation suspending a proclamation made to convene parliament. 

“Out of the four (4) Proclamations made, three were made under Article 52 (Meetings of the Legislative Assembly) of the Constitution; and one was made pursuant to Article 64 (General elections) of the Constitution. 

“From the analysis conducted by the Commission, there were provisions noted for possible reforms to cater for similar events should they arise in future General Elections. 

“Some of these provisions (according to preliminary findings) are Article 52 (Meetings of the Legislative Assembly) and Article 64 (General elections) of the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa 1960, as well as Section 52 (writ of election issued by the HOS) of the Electoral Act 2019.

“Overall, in light of extraordinary events arising in the 2021 General Elections, consideration may be made about the further review of the electoral framework/steps/events in Samoa, taking into account other countries and their electoral laws and any extraordinary events that may have arisen in their general elections processes, which may offer guidance for Samoa in the future.”