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CIP to appeal Mitiaro decision

Tuesday October 21, 2014 Written by Published in Politics
Tangata Vavia's win in Mitiaro will be challenged by CIP. Tangata Vavia's win in Mitiaro will be challenged by CIP.

The Cook Islands Party has announced it has filed an appeal of a High Court’s decision concerning a petition filed for the constituency of Mitiaro.

Pending the outcome, the appeal has the potential to disrupt plans for a by-election, currently scheduled for November 11.
The seat has remained vacant since an election night tie between Tuakeu Tangatapoto of the CIP and the island’s previous Member of Parliament, Tangata Vavia of the Demo Party.
Vavia and the Demos filed a petition of the result, which was followed by a counter-petition by the CIP.
Before the petition could be heard by the High Court, the Demos signalled their intent to withdraw their petition, however the CIP asked the court to follow through with its own petition should the Demos withdraw.
Acting on behalf of the Demos, lawyer Tina Browne reserved her decision to withdraw until the Court advised on whether the CIP petition would “have a life of its own”.
In a ruling released last month, Chief Justice Tom Weston responded to Browne and said if the Demos pull the petition, the CIP petition would not be heard by the court.
In a media statement released yesterday, the CIP said it filed the court action late last week, and said it is appealing “... the last-minute withdrawal and arguing for the original petition to be heard.”
As a result of the development, the Court of Appeal is now entertaining up to six appeals.
Joining the CIP’s appeal of Mitiaro are appeals of decisions for Penrhyn, Manihiki, Vaipae-Tautu, and Tengatangi-Areora, and Teenui-Mapumai.
With the CIP’s fragile one seat majority in Parliament, political observers will be keeping an eye on the Court of Appeal’s upcoming sitting – currently scheduled for November 17 -21.        - Emmanuel Samoglou

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