4 Mar 2011

Samoa's ruling party dismisses vote buying claims

5:04 pm on 4 March 2011

The leader of Samoa's ruling HRPP has defended his party against allegations of vote buying ahead of tomorrow's general election.

Opposition politicians say government MPs donate money to villages, and that's why it has been in power for 30 years.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says it is not corruption, it is simply Samoan custom to provide for the village.

"Every politician in the world has to spend some money on campaigning, and to say that HRPP buy votes, when they are also spending money, that is like saying do as I say and not as I do."

Tuilaepa says advertising, or campaign posters are the same as traditional giving.

The President of the opposition Tautua Samoa party says if the ruling Human Rights Protection Party is re-elected, the damage it will do to the country is irreversible.

The party is standing 42 candidates in 39 of the country's 41 electorates.

Va'aelua Ete Alesana says his party wants to lower the cost of living, first by taking tax off basic food items.

He says people are sick of the HRPP.

Samoa as a country is not darkened any more by the HRPP's propaganda. I think people are really aware of what's going on, they are aware that the HRPP just do all these things and all these projects in the six months prior to the election, sometimes four months prior to the election.

Va'aelua Ete Alesana says believes his party will win at least 25 of the 49 seats in the house