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Petitions may follow final count

Wednesday June 27, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
Demo leader Tina Browne anticipates petitions will be both filed and defended. Demo leader Tina Browne anticipates petitions will be both filed and defended.

The leading political parties have not ruled out the possibility of filing petitions after the final count of the votes from the 2018 general elections, expected to be completed later today.

There is a close tussle between the governing Cook Islands Party (CIP) and the Democratic Party in the race to form the government for the next four years.

From the preliminary results released on the night of the June 14 election, the Democratic Party has a slender lead with 11 seats, with the CIP on 10. Two seats went to independent candidates, while the One Cook Islands party secured one seat.

CIP campaign manager and incumbent finance minister Mark Brown said it was too early at this stage for the party to be considering petitions.

However, he said the CIP would await the final counts before deciding on any further action.

“We remain confident of our numbers and that we will return to government after the final count is confirmed,” Brown said.

Democratic Party leader Tina Browne also said it was “a bit early” to talk about petitions.

However she said they anticipated filing some petitions and defending some as well.

“Once we know the final result, then we will know where we stand. If there is no change in the result (from the preliminary counting) then we won’t be filing that many petitions. The decision on petitions depends on the final result,” Browne said.

Browne, who was unable to win the Rakahanga seat she contested in the 2018 election, also confirmed there had been no talks about the leadership, should the Democratic Party gain majority seats and form a government.

“We haven’t talked anything about the leadership yet. The major focus is the final count and we will address any other issues after that.”

In an interview with CINews last week, chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua confirmed the electoral office would release the final result tomorrow following two half days of counting.

According to the preliminary result, five constituencies recorded close results – one by just a single vote and four others by 8-10 votes.

Tangimetua said a significant number of votes still had to be counted. These votes include votes by declaration, including advance, special and postal voting.

There is a possibility a couple of seats may change hands when the final votes have been counted.