The Samoa Government will review Article 44 subsection (1a) of the Constitution regarding the minimum 10 percent of women in Parliament; given the last General Election resulted in hung Parliament and started the political crisis which last months.
This is according to Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa during the PACMAS journalist masterclass conference consisting of close to 20 journalists around the region.
She said Samoa adopted legislation to ensure a higher level of participation and it was in 2012 that the forum leaders made the declaration for gender equality, including measures to raise the levels of participation by women, but they are now seeing the ramifications of this model.
The Prime Minister also spoke on the irony that women already in Politics think that women should find their way into parliament in the normal way.
Last year the two women Members of Parliament Aliimalemanu Alofa Tuuau and Fagasealii Sapoa Feagai whose seats were activated under the 10 percent constitutional seats for women, have not been sworn in.
This is despite the activation of Article 44 (1a) by the Office of the Electoral Commission.
Speaker of the House, Lio Papalii Masipa'u said the swearing-in of the two women is on hold pending an outcome of the legal challenge in court over the activation process.
Article 44 (1a) of the Constitution printed verbatim below.
44. Members of the Legislative Assembly -(1)Subject to the provisions of this Article, theLegislative Assembly shall consist of one member elected for each of 51 electoral constituencies having names, and comprising of villages or sub-villages as are prescribed from time to time by Act.
(Note –clauses (1) and (3) commence on the day the Head of State dissolves the Legislative Assembly under Article 63(4) of the Constitution for the 2021 general elections as per Article 1(2) of the Constitution Amendment Act (No.3) 2019, No. 10)
(1A) Subject to this Article, women Members of the Legislative Assembly shall: (a) consist of a minimum of 10% of the Members of the Legislative Assembly specified under clause (1) which for the avoidance of doubt is presently 5; and