The role of ballot chiefs (matai pälota) and political parties in Sämoa's shift to universal suffrage

Jon Fraenkel, Asofou So'o

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Sämoa shifted to universal suffrage only in 1990, after 28 years of independent self-government under a system in which only matai (chiefs or family title-holders) were entitled to vote or stand as candidates. During the matai-only franchise era, increasing numbers of honorific titles were conferred on citizens, so expanding the electoral rolls. Broadening the franchise in 1990, it was hoped, would bring a halt to the creation of 'ballot chiefs' (matai pälota). In this paper, we show that there were also other less widely recognised reasons for matai title proliferation during 1962-90 and reveal new data showing that, far from arresting this, the number of matai continued to dramatically expand even after the shift to a universal franchise. We also examine the impact of the 1990 reforms on Sämoa's emerging party system and find evidence of the diminishing political significance of standing in the customary hierarchy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-361
    JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
    Volume43
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The role of ballot chiefs (matai pälota) and political parties in Sämoa's shift to universal suffrage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this