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Samoa crisis may put women off politics

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An impasse between Samoa’s incumbent prime minister and female opposition leader could see a backlash against gender quota rules and stop other women from entering politics across the Pacific, analysts warn.

April’s tightly-contested election gave the FAST opposition party led by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa – who was bidding to become Samoa’s first female premier – a one-seat parliamentary majority until poll authorities gave the ruling party an extra lawmaker to meet a 10 per cent female representation rule.

In an apparent effort to overcome a month-long impasse, the Pacific nation’s head of state said an election should be held again on May 21, but this was overruled by the Supreme Court, which rejected the creation of an additional parliamentary seat.

But the twin-island nation’s political crisis intensified on Monday as Fiame held a ceremony to form government outside a locked parliament after the incumbent Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi refused…

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