Samoan Election Results: Trends and Patterns 1964–2016

30 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 14 Oct 2021

See all articles by Terence Wood

Terence Wood

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Sachini Muller

Development Policy Centre

Date Written: October 8, 2018


This paper draws on data from the new Samoa Election Results database to highlight salient features and trends in Samoa’s electoral history. It reports on results for all national general elections since independence. It looks at votes and voter turnout, candidate numbers, winning candidate vote shares, incumbent turnover, parliamentary longevity, parties and women candidates. One central finding is an absence of strong trends in many electoral features. This is surprising given the major change to formal electoral rules that occurred with the extension of the franchise in Samoa in 1991. Another finding is that there is considerable variation in key electoral statistics between different Samoan electorates and in the same electorates over time. As electoral statistics are described, the paper makes comparisons between Samoa and Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (two other Pacific countries for which similar election results databases exist). There are clear contrasts in some areas – most notably, differences in candidate numbers and party numbers. Yet there are also similarities, including high incumbent turnover rates, and under-representation of women in parliament.

Note: Figure 3 of this version of the paper was modified in October 2021.

Keywords: Samoa, Elections, Parliament, Voting

JEL Classification: D72, O56

Suggested Citation

Wood, Terence and Muller, Sachini, Samoan Election Results: Trends and Patterns 1964–2016 (October 8, 2018). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 73, Available at SSRN: or

Terence Wood (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200

Sachini Muller

Development Policy Centre ( email )

7 Liversidge Street (Bld 70)
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, 0200

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