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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Samoa's ruling party wins again
Samoan Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi
Prime Minister Tuila'epa stood unopposed in his constituency
Samoa's ruling party appears set for a new term in office after winning the general election with an increased majority, early results suggest.

The Human Rights Protection Party, in office for 24 years, took 30 seats out of 49 - eight more than at 2001 polls.

Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi said his party's win was an acknowledgment of its achievements.

Samoa is seen by some as a beacon of stability in the South Pacific, where other states struggle to survive.

Spotlight on economy

A formal count was being held on Monday, but preliminary results announced by election officials at the weekend gave the ruling party 30 seats, the opposition Samoa Democratic United Party (SDUP) 10 seats and independents eight.

The outcome for the 49th seat had still to be decided and some additional "special" votes by citizens voting outside their home constituencies had still to be included in the count.


"From past experience the results don't change much with the inclusion of special votes," Samoan Electoral Commissioner Tanivasa Lemisio told the Associated Press news agency.

The HRPP campaigned on its record of stabilising the economy - which saw a 6% growth in 2005 - and providing services, particularly in rural areas.

The SDUP focused on alleged government corruption and the high cost of living.

Some 60% of Samoa's 178,000 citizens rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and tourism is the nation's main source of foreign income.

But the economy remains dependent on remittances from Samoans living abroad. Samoa has a population of 182,000; there are a further 120,000 Samoans living in New Zealand.

More than 79,000 Samoans registered to vote in Friday's election.


SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Samoa elections
30 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Samoa
18 Jun 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Samoa
11 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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