TUILAEPA AND TUIATUA RE-ELECTED IN SAMOA ELECTION

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Mar. 3, 2001 - PIDP/CPIS)--Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi regained his Parliamentary seat during Samoa's general election on Friday. Tuilaepa received 439 votes compared to his sole challenger, Talaifono Liko, of the Lepa District, who won only 85 votes.

Samoa's opposition leader, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, also regained his seat, in Anoamaa Sasae District, receiving 930 votes over his challenger, Savea Savelio, with 434 votes.

Election results from voting booths arrived at Samoa's election office before 5:00 p.m. and results were read on Televise Samoa and Radio 2AP. As of 2:30 a.m. Saturday, counting continues.

Officials said from Samoa's capital of Apia, that the delay is due to bad weather creating havoc for election officials taking ballot boxes from outlining villages to the main election office in town.

Election officials on Samoa's big island of Savaii also encountered bad weather, which delayed the arrival of ballot boxes at the main election office.

More than 100 voters, supporters, tourists and a few journalists were stranded here on Friday when Samoa Air and Polynesian Airlines grounded their flights and closed the air-route between the two Samoas due to high winds and heavy rain in Samoa.

American Samoa journalists, returned to their respective offices and depended on Radio 2AP and other journalists in Samoa to get election results.

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