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.
In June 2013, the Samoa Parliament unanimously passed the Constitution Amendment Act (2013) in Parliament, that introduced 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.
Samoa held a general elections on 4th March 2016, with 24 women standing as candidates out of 164 candidates. 4 women were successfully elected to Parliament, which also meant that the “special measures” amendment to the constitution (2013) for a 10% minimum quota for women representatives was activated. The next highest-polling woman candidate, Hon. Faaulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers, was then elected via this quota, making the total number of 50 MPs in the 16th Parliament of Samoa.
Samoa held a general election on 9 April 2021. In March 2021, Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, a former member of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and a former Deputy Prime Minister, was elected to lead the main opposition party, Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST). Prime minister Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi led the HRPP into the election. Preliminary results showed a tie between the HRPP and FAST, with each winning 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly. However, the Samoan electoral commission subsequently determined that, with women comprising 9.8 percent of the elected members, the results did not fulfil a constitutional provision which required that at least 10 percent of seats be held by women. As a result, an additional female candidate was declared elected, increasing the parliament’s membership to 52 and the HRPP’s seat total to 26. Following this, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, an independent member, announced that he would side with FAST, creating a hung parliament with both the HRPP and FAST holding 26 seats. After months of legal disputes, on 23 July 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled that FAST had won the election and Hon Mataʻafa was now the Prime Minister. On 26 July, Tuila’epa conceded the election and on 17 August the final election petition was decided, giving a final result of FAST 26 — HRPP 18. After seven bye-elections were held in November 2021, the total number of women MPs was finally determined – 4 elected outright, and two more added through the women’s quota.
No Women MPs