TWO BY-ELECTIONS TO BE HELD IN SAMOA

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APIA, Samoa (March 31, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Samoa is planning two by-elections as a result of the death of independent MP Ali'imalemanu Sasa Tavita, who died Tuesday of a suspected heart attack, and A'ana MP, Suafo'a Lautasi, who was convicted Tuesday of driving offenses resulting in the death of a policeman.

Regardless of the results, the elections will not affect the makeup of the present government of Prime Minister Tofilau Eti Alesana, which holds 35 seats in the 49-member Parliament.

Ali'imalemanu, 53, served as MP since 1982 for the Alata'ua I Sisifo constituency.

Owner of one of the biggest electrical appliances shop in Apia, Ali'imalemanu, was once Minister of Finance for three months, before the present government swept into office over 15 years ago.

Suafo'a, 55, was convicted by the Magistrates Court of negligent driving causing death, failing to stop to ascertain possible injuries and failing to report the accident as soon as reasonably possible or within 24 hours.

He was charged with running over and killing an off duty police officer and fined $US 330.

Suafo'a, 55, plans to appeal the verdict according to his legal counsel.

Earlier, he was found to have lied in court, saying he had hit a cow.

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