Radio531 PI Flower Talanoa

Radio531 PI Flowers

Samoan electorates under review

26 June 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Samoa's government is considering major electoral reforms before the next general election in 2021.

The massive difference in the number of eligible voters in each electorate is under review and a new law is expected to be passed by Parliament before the end of the year.

Among the changes expected is lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Matthew Lemisio, says correcting the current imbalance between the smaller number of voters in village constituencies compared to urban electorates, will also be considered.

In the last election, the Prime Minister's Lepa constituency had 685 voters, while the urban Apia electorate of Faleata West had just over 5000 voters.

Lemisio says the electoral boundaries outside urban areas are currently based on village locations, not population.

"The current set up is heavily based on traditional boundaries," he says. "That makes it hard to align with the practice they have in New Zealand." 

Lemisio says a big part of the problem is urbanisation.

"People are moving in to town," he says. "So when it comes to re-looking into the boundaries of electorates, that's where the focus will be."

Tags: Samoa,