15 Jul 2002

American Samao's Congressman agrees to ask for delay on his election bill l

11:25 am on 15 July 2002

American Samoa's Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has changed his mind and decided to request the US House Committee on Resources to postpone a hearing on his election bill.

His bill is aimed at allowing the territory's representative to Congress to be elected by a simple majority.

Currently, a successful candidate must have 50 per cent plus one other vote and if there is no clear winner a run off is held between the top two vote getters.

Faleomaevaga says he has decided to request a delay as a courtesy to the American Samoa Fono to give it more time to review the measure.

Governor Tauese Sunia is opposed to what is known as the Plurality Election Bill.

He says while election by simple majority may be suitable for states with large voting populations, it is not appropriate for a small island community.

He said in his written testimony to the Congressional hearing, that a delegate elected with less than 30 per cent of the votes cast would not be considered to have a mandate on a small island

Faleomavega says he has already given the territory since December last year to review the Bill