Samoa. Ahead of the March parliamentary elections, there
was a fierce debate about the electoral law's requirement
that every candidate must be a so-called matai, head of
family and family, who has done hometown services for three
years. The candidates sued each other in court with
accusations that they did not fulfill the conditions.
Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi was one of those who
failed his opponent in court and could stand without
competition in his constituency.
The ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) already
had its own majority in parliament, phono, but increased it
to 35 seats out of 50. The opposition party Tautua Samoa was
almost obliterated and received only two seats. 13 seats
went to independent candidates.
A new feature of the electoral law was that five mandates
were reserved for women, but only four were elected and the
fifth member was quoted. One of the four women elected to
HRPP, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, was named Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister responsible for Energy and Natural Resources.
In October, researchers warned that Samoa's national bird
pigeon was about to be eradicated. The bird had been
threatened for several years and now the researchers thought
there were only a few dozen left. Tooth pigeon is depicted
on Samoa banknotes and coins.