24 Jan 2003

Samoa opposition reject recommendation to retain residency requirements for MPs

11:56 am on 24 January 2003

Samoa's opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, says the time has come to do away with the residency qualifications for election candidates.

Speaking during debate on a commission of inquiry report on electoral reform, Le Mamea said the contribution of overseas Samoans should be acknowledged.

Without their financial contributions, he said, Samoa would suffer economically.

A former opposition leader, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese, supported his leader, saying that a person who contributes to the economy should have the right to say how it would be spent via political office.

Tuiatua said without the contribution made by overseas remittances no family, village or church would survive.

Another senior opposition MP, Leota Suatele also urged the House to end the residency qualification and leave it to constituencies to decide who they wanted as their MP.

Overseas remittances contribute more to the economy than Samoa's biggest industry, tourism.