12 Nov 2004

Samoa government accused of using public resources for to lure candidates

4:33 pm on 12 November 2004

Samoa's Opposition Democratic United Party is claiming that the government is manipulating public resources to lure election candidates.

The SDUP has made this claim as attention focuses on the upcoming Aana Alofi No.1 by-election where all four candidates running are supporters of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party..

The SDUP is unlikely to enter a candidate November 26th by-election, and will probably lose one more seat to the HRPP which has held power since 1988.

The SDUP says the HRPP government increased the number of Cabinet ministers from nine to 13 in 1993, then created 13 undersecretary positions.

The SDUP believes that with 26 prestigious positions on offer, accompanied by attractive benefits, HRPP has been able to lure candidates and retain control of the 49-seat house.

And the SDUP leader Le Mamea Ropati says these undersecretaries since 2001 have had higher allowances, motor vehicles and free phones.

He says that with such incentives few MPs would want to join the Opposition., especially through a by election.