13 Jul 2002

debate on American Samoa plurality election bill to continue

9:33 am on 13 July 2002

The United States House Committee on Resources says it will go ahead with a hearing on Congressman Feleomavaega Eni Hunkin's plurality election bill despite a request from American Samoa to delay it.

The American Samoa Fono or Legislature wrote to the Committee's chair , Congressman James Hansen to delay the hearing because more time was needed by the territorial leaders and public to discuss the bill.

Faleomavaega is proposing that the American Samoan Congressman be elected by a simple majority.

Currently, a successful candidate must have 50 percent, plus one of the votes cast and if there is no clear victor in the first ballot a run off is held between the top two vote getters, two weeks after the general election.

The Fono told the US House Committee that American Samoa is an unorganized and unincorporated territory and has the right of self determination.

However, the Resource Committee says that Faleomavaega is the only person who can delay the hearing which is scheduled for July 17th.