FAST Vows to Remove Residency and Monotaga Rules


The legal qualifications of candidates running in parliamentary elections in Samoa would be changed if the recently launched Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party is voted in.

Samoa Observer reports the party’s manifesto launched last week says it plans to remove residency and traditional service (monotaga) requirements of the Electoral Act 2019.

Party founder La’auli Leuatea Schmidt told party faithful last Friday that current residency requirements are being used to discourage people from standing for office.

He said the current Electoral Act requires that candidates reside in Samoa for three years prior to the election.

The former HRPP Cabinet Minister said removing these conditions would be a top priority if they win the elections.

The law requires that intending candidates must spend no less than 304 days a year for the three years prior to nomination date.

At the manifesto launch, La’auli promised to allow Samoans overseas to vote in General Elections, saying their $600million tālā annual contribution into the economy through remittances each year should give them the right to vote.

“This is the money that goes into raising families, developing churches and our Government. And who is benefiting from this?”

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has said that the HRPP Government will not allow absentee voting for overseas-based Samoans.

La’auli also FAST intends to scrap the law that allows the Office of the Electoral Commission to fine eligible voters who fail to register with a $ST2000 fine.


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