Samoa has a population of approximately 180,000 people. The national Legislative Assembly has 49 members. The electoral system is a hybrid - with a first-past-the-post system used in 37 single-member constituencies and a Block Vote used for the 6 multi-member constituencies. The Government has indicated its intention to reform the electoral system to introduce all single-member constituencies. Elections are held every five years.
Samoa currently has 2 women MPs, down from 4 women MPs in the last parliament. In March 2012, the Samoa Government tabled the Constitution Amendment Bill 2012 in Parliament. The Bill seeks to introduce a 10% quota of women representatives into the national Legislative Assembly. The system proposes a "floating" five reserved seats for women. If no woman is elected during the elections, the amendment is activated and five seats are added to the Assembly. This will mean a Samoan parliament with a total of 54 seats. If one woman is elected then four seats are added and parliament has 53 seats, and so on. When extra seats are added, they are filled by women who have already run in open constituencies. The unsuccessful women candidates who receive the highest percentage of votes in the election will fill the requisite number of reserved seats.
Hon. Gatoloaifa'na Amataga Alesana Gidlow
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