Post-Election analysisMar 20, 2016
The last debate of the “IPPWS Roundtable on Women in Politics” sponsored by UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be broadcast tonight at 8:00pm on TV3.
The TV show, the fourth of a series, aimed at informing voters about the candidates and the General Elections. The first roundtable was an interesting debate with women candidates, the second an analysis of the political landscape made by media and community representatives and the third a discussion on youth and their engagement in the electoral process. Tonight the debate will be focused on a post-election analysis.
The panellists of the last roundtable discussion hosted by the Centre for Samoan Studies were Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio - Acting CEO of the Office of the Electoral Commissioner (OEC), Apulu Lance Polu - Editor of Talamua, Tofilau Merita Huch - News Editor of TV1 and Mata’afa Keni Lesa, Editor of Samoa Observer. Almost 60 people, including four women candidates, attended and participated to the lively conversation.
As Apulu Lance Polu, Editor of Talamua, pointed out: "There has been a lot of talk about a one party state after the election result was out. I think we must respect the decision that Samoan people made through their individual choices at the polls. If they have voted to do without a Parliamentary Opposition, that's their choice. But it’s like we are going back to the pre-party politics days in late 1970's when the Prime Minister and his Cabinet was the government and all other MPs were in the Opposition. But like village council politics, voices of dissent are all heard in the meeting house and the final decision is made after all the voices have been heard. I hope this will be in the new Parliament as in the very end, the individual MPs have to answer to their constituents in the next election."
Leasiolagi Dr. Meleisea Malama Meleisea, Director of CSS and facilitator of the roundtable discussion, confirmed that: “Members of the panel and speakers from the audience raised serious concerns about the fact that there will be no opposition in Parliament. The panelists suggested that the media and civil society should try harder to take up issues which might not get proper hearing in parliament because of HRPP dominance.”
And then Leasiolagi added: “Concern was also expressed regarding the very low percentage of youth participation in the elections. Several suggestions were made about possible causes of youth lack of interest, and noted that political parties should encourage youth activities in their party platforms. A post-election gender based analysis of registration and voting patterns should clarify the male and female participation (lack of) among youth.”
The roundtables were part of the Increased Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS), a joint programme between UN Women and UNDP, in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Australian Government.