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Savali Talavou won secret balloting 11-9

By Ausage Fausia PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Jan. 4, 2011) – In American Samoa, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale yesterday retained his position, after the traditional secret ballot election that saw the Representative from Ituau Malosi district, Taotasi Archie Soliai lose by only two votes. Savali won the ballot by a vote of 11-9. The House Chamber was filled with families, friends, and government and Fono leaders, who were there to witness this important event before the official opening of the 32nd Legislature on Monday next week, Jan. 10, 2011.

Fialupe Lutu, the acting Secretary of the House at the time led the swearing in ceremony for all of the 21 members of the house. Rev. Tavita Loseti began the ceremony with a prayer, followed by a song sung by everyone in attendance.

A letter from the Commissioner of Elections, Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono was read out by Fialupe.

In his letter, Soliai confirmed that all representatives who won their district seats from last year’s elections are now acknowledged as members of the 32nd Legislature.

Soliai thanked all the representatives from each district, including the Swains Island, for the hard work that they have been through.

He also wished all the best to the representatives in the hard job ahead.

Chief Justice F. Michael Kruse swore in all members of the House of Representatives, while their right hands were all raised to show that they’re willing to keep their promises.

After the swearing in, Kruse shook hands with each and every one of them before he left the chamber. The House now moved on to the next step selecting its leader.

Rep. Simei Pulu of the Vaifanua District #3, started the process by nominating Savali as the candidate for the Speaker of the House, the Manu’a District #2’s newly elected representative, Rep. Toeaina F. Autele seconded Savali’s nomination.

Pulu reminded the house about the selection of a king for Israel. He told his colleagues about the sending of Samuel to Jesse’s family to select a king from his child. He said, God didn’t select Jesse’s sons to be a king because of their body or strength, but he chose the younger son, David because He already knew his heart.

Before Autele seconded Savali’s nomination, he pointed out that the House is not of one heart. He said he can see that there are differences in the House and he recommended that if all members put together all their differences, it can look like flowers from different plants, which can be put together to form a beautiful floral arrangement.

Rep. Tautolo Charlie Agaoleatu of the Saole District #4 disagreed with Autele’s statement about some differences in the House. He said that because of the politics and democracy, the House of Representatives needs to go through this process and after doing so, it will all come back in one heart and work together as always. He reiterated again that there were no differences in the House.

After he made his statement, Agaoleatu then nominated Rep. Tautasi Archie Soliai as the candidate for the Speaker election, which was seconded by Tualatai Representative Galumalemana Bill Satele.

The election as is the norm was done by secret ballot.

Everyone was silent as the acting House secretary announced the ballots wherein Savali was re-elected as the Speaker for the 32nd Legislature by a vote of 11 to 9.

After his election, Savali then shook hands with each representative before he headed to the speaker’s chair, and led the elections for House Secretary and Sergeant-at-arms.

Faimealelei Anthony Fu’e Allen nominated Fialupe as the secretary of the House, which was seconded by Vailiuama Steven Leasiolagi, with a third by Agaoleatu.

After the ballot, Fialupe was reappointed as the secretary of the House with an 18-2 vote. Two votes were disqualified due to wrong names on the ballot paper.

After Fialupe was reappointed as the secretary, Muasau Seti Muasau was also reappointed as the Sergent-at-arms for the House.

In his closing remarks, Savali thanked all representatives for the great work. He also thanked those who supported him, and who gave their trust to him to continue his services as the Speaker of the House.

The newly re-elected Speaker said that as the time came close to the selection of a new Speaker, there were people who said something about the need for a change, and he thought that those statements helped him for the task at hand.

Taotasi also thanked all members of the House for their hard work and also for the outcome of their vote. He asked all members of the House to forget about the past but focus on good things for the future of the Fono and the people of American Samoa.

Speculation has now begun on who will be Vice-Speaker, as the position was held four two terms running by Laolagi S. Vaeao, who was defeated in the November 2010 General Election in his district of Ofu/ Olosega.

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