Pacific Islands Forum Team To Observe Samoa Elections

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

First time attention paid to encouraging women’s participation

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 2, 2016) – An observer group from the Pacific Islands Forum is in Samoa to observe the country’s general elections.

The team comprises Mr. Clavin Ziru – Registrar of Electoral Parties – Solomon Islands and Mr. Bernard Grundler – Chief Secretary and Returning Officer – Nauru. They are assisted by Angela Thomas and Charmina Saili of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The Observer Team was invited by the Government of Samoa and arrived Monday 29 February and will be in Samoa until 7 March.

[PIR editor’s note: On March 2, 2016 Samoa Observer reported that ‘A team that consists of students from the Australian National University in Canberra, representatives of the National University of Samoa and other local organisations will be studying the implementation of the elections. ... Members of the group will be divided between Savai’i and Upolu so they could observe how elections are run in Samoa. ... Nicole Haley of the Australian National University said the team has carried out a similar exercise in other Pacific countries. ... She made it clear that they are not in Samoa to monitor the election.’]

Charmina Saili of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat says the team will be paying some attention to the implementation of and results of the Temporary Special Measures for learning and sharing purposes.

The team is meeting media outlets ahead of the elections this Friday to get perspectives on the election preparations thus far to ensure free and fair elections and the enabling environment provided for participation of youth, persons with disability and women candidates.

Charmina Saili says the team is particularly interested in the work done to support the Temporary Special Measures mechanism for regional learning.

It’s the first general elections where a lot of attention has been placed on encouraging women participation as candidates and 24 women candidates are running for the 49 seat parliament.

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