The Human Rights Protection Party

What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Feb 20

PM Tuilaepa and Fonotoe Lauofo return unopposed

Prime Minister of SamoaAPIA: 19 Feb 2011: The ruling Human Rights Protection Party have two confirmed seats in the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Fonotoe Pierre Nuafesili Lauofo who have been returned unopposed at the close of nominations for candidates for the 4 March general elections at 12.00 noon Friday 18 February. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ruled Tuula Kiliri as unqualified as a candidate and his Tautua Samoa Party did not put up another candidate to run against the Prime Minister for the Lepa seat. After the Court decision was delivered, Tuula said he accepted and respected the Courts decision. He was not eligible for lack of service a matai needs to render his village. Tuilaepa was also elected unopposed in 2006 and has represented Lepa since 1982. Fonotoe, one of the youngest MPs found himself in the same comfort zone when his fiercest opponent, former Speaker Leota Leuluaialii Ituau Ale was ruled ineligible on residential and service grounds. Leota however announced another Tautua candidate will be nominated in his place. But apparently, the Village Mayor was blamed for "not making himself available" to sign the new candidates nomination leaving only Fonotoe as the only nomination for Anoama'a West.

Fonotoe said his Campaign Committee were prepared for the election having assigned staff for election booths but did not rely too much on the outcome of the Court decision.

Speaking at the HRPP headquarters in the afternoon where he was relaxed amongst fellow candidates preparing for the elections, he thanked his constituency for the honour. "I'll see you soon," referring to an expected gesture to return the constituency's support.

Fonotoe is a lawyer by profession and Chairs Parliaments important committees such as the Justice and Development Committee.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa encouraged the HRPP candidates to work together and must be contend with election outcome - a reference to election petitions that followed previous elections where petitions even come from the losing party candidates.

"Whoever wins from our party, let's give them the chance and wait for the next elections," Tuilaepa told the HRPP candidates.  

"There are also Committees of which the Government relies on to coordinate and put its development plans into action."

Tuilaepa also warned against any plots especially the race now for the Deputy Prime Minister's job left vacant after Misa Telefoni's resignation last week.

"Let's not get back to that time," Tuilaepa referred to defections in the politically unstable days of early party politics. "We never got anything useful from it," he told his Party.

"I do hear everything. As many people ring and tell me who are meeting where to form a faction," he told the meeting. "God will appoint and deliver us the leaders in his own time."

If he becomes Prime Minister again after next months general elections, Tuilaepa will become Samoa's longest serving Prime Minister than that of the region. He has already served 12 years in the post after serving as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister fror much of his career that started in 1982.

His mentor, the late Tofilau Eti Alesana served as Prime Minister for 13 years.

Following an absence from Parliament for months when he was too ill to continue, Tofilau made his final public appearance and resigned from Parliament in August 1998 and passed the reigns on to Tuilaepa in a smooth leadership transition. Tofilau remained a Cabinet Minister without portfolio until his death later that year.

Author: Lance Polu - Talamua
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