A Game-Changer Election in Samoa

Posted on 13 April 2021

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Samoan politics is on a knife edge, after an election that  resulted in a dead heat between the two major parties, write  and  in The Conversation.

'This is a stunning and unexpected electoral rebuke of the ruling party, the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), which has dominated Samoa for four decades.'

The nine-month-old opposition, Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party, with former Deputy Prime Minister Sa’o Faapito Fiame Naomi Mata’afa as its leader, is neck and neck with the HRPP party.

She has said that her party would govern in coalition with the independent winner of the 51st - tie-breaking  - seat. 

The result is likely to go to court.

FAST's success is due largely to public push back on the government's legislation to increase its power over bestowals of family land, and on the government's handling of the measles epidemic.  Mata'afa Keni Lesa writes for DevPolicy on why this result is so important for government accountability

Despite no COVID cases, Samoa is still in a state of emergency.

What would a change in government mean for development?

  • A move away from increased infrastructure to  social development
  • Human rights a key priority
  • More urgency to open borders and rebuild the economy
  • Greater focus on climate change.
'Fiame, leader of FAST, is poised to be Samoa’s next prime minister. Although she would be the first woman in the position, pre-colonial Samoa has a strong tradition of national female leaders.'


Pacific Islands Policy