25 Jun 2013

Samoa women prefer separate roll for parliament seats

4:37 am on 25 June 2013

A group which pushed for seats for women in the Samoa parliament says while it welcomes yesterday's constitutional change, it had been hoping the government would take a different approach.

Parliament unanimously endorsed an amendment to allow five seats to be allotted to women candidates.

Under the process if no woman wins a seat the five highest polling unsuccessful women candidates will be allocated seats, boosting parliament's numbers to 54.

But if five women candidates win seats the formula is discarded and the number of seats stays at 49.

A spokesperson for an advocacy group, Roina Vavatau, says they are pleased but wanted ten percent of the seats to be determined by women voting on a separate electoral roll.

"It [the separate roll] is going to be competitive. It is just like every other elector coming into Parliament. The women are not perceived as getting a free ride into Parliament. They have to compete just like their [male] counterparts."

Roina Vavatau.

She says the seats for women is a temporary measure and they have been told the method used to choose them could change.