Apia (Samoa) (AFP) - Samoa's ruling Human Rights Protection Party won a crushing victory in the Pacific island nation's general election, preliminary results released on Saturday showed.
The HRPP, which has dominated Samoan politics since the early 1980s, won 47 of the 49 seats, results released by the electoral commissioner's office showed.
This is a substantial improvement on the previous election in 2011 when the party won 36 of 49 seats.
The main opposition Tautua Samoa Party was all but wiped out with only deputy leader, Aeau Peniamina and new MP Ili Setefano Ta'ateo elected.
In an election where parties can put up multiple candidates for one seat several HRPP MPs, including three cabinet ministers, were voted out and replaced by younger members of the same party.
"I would like to extend my gratitude to all of Samoa for the support, and the overwhelming vote of confidence in our vision for this country," said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who has led the country since 1998.
"Looking at the results, about half of parliament's seats are going to change. This is democracy at work."
The election returned only four women to parliament and under new measures a fifth woman will be added, taking the number of seats in parliament to 50.
Malielegaoi said the overwhelming support for the HRPP was indicative of the level of trust the country had in their leadership.
"HRPP has been leading Samoa for a very long time and there are many developments done during that time. The country is mindful of it."
More than 110,000 people registered to cast their vote for more than 170 candidates vying for a place in Samoa's parliament.