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Source: Government of Western Samoa

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By: Joshua Lafoa’i

To extend the period for voters registration may lead to postponing the General Elections next April.
But that is something that should not happen, reassured Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi via his live Radio 2AP weekly program Thursday evening.

And this was cemented by a Press Statement from the Office of the Electoral Commission, (OEC) yesterday.
A press statement dated 13th of October 2020, reiterated the legal ties binding the Electoral commission to move forward with election preparations according to the steps laid out in the Electoral act.

“The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio wishes to reiterate that under the Electoral Act 2019, section 13(7), the public is hereby notified voters registration is closed,” the released stated.
“The declaration of the closure of all Registrations Applications for the 2021 General Elections was publicly declared to close on 8th October 2020 at 4:00pm. This time and date still stands as declared and advertised, any opposing views do not have any impact on this closure,” the statement continued.

“The OEC is duly bound to pursue the 2021 General elections schedule in place and is also mandated to uphold the provisions of the law which included the rights to register and vote in every general elections.”
Back to Prime Minister Tuilaepa, he says the last minute panic where hundreds of voters bombarded the EFKS Hall at Sogi on deadline day reflects the last minute attitude.

“It’s always until the last minute. That is the problem,” he added noting that since the last General Elections in 2016 OEC has been on the ground with their registration drive which includes teams visiting the villages in both Savaii and Upolu not including television and radio programs encouraging new voters to register.
“Let’s not extend it anymore, let’s go with those we have now. There is a big lesson here,” he said.
“Whatever decision the OEC decides to do now, and if he closes the registration for good, maybe in the next registration voters will not wait until the last minute,” he added.
This week, the OEC are in Savaii to start the registration for candidates from the Big Island before returning to Upolu. The deadline of candidates’ registration is October 23rd.

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