Three down, three to go

Thursday August 23, 2018 Written by Published in Politics

The Cook Islands Party’s Tingika Elikana retained the Pukapuka-Nassau seat after a petition against his win in the 2018 general election was withdrawn earlier this week.

 

The petition, which was filed by Willie Katoa of the Democratic Party, was withdrawn on Tuesday morning.

This means Elikana, who won the seat in the June 14 election, is confirmed as the new Member of Parliament for the electorate.

Katoa filed a petition against Elikana and the chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua alleging that some electors were not qualified to vote, adding that the Electoral Office erred in permitting their votes to be cast and counted.

The votes were recounted before Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams on Monday last week. After the recount, Elikana managed 145 votes while Katoa had 129.

Justice Williams then gave the petitioner time to reconsider whether or not he wanted to proceed with the hearing and Katoa decided to withdraw the petition.

“I’m happy that this has come to an end and now I can focus on serving and helping the people in my constituency,” Elikana said.

Decisions on the Murienua and Mauke petitions, which were heard before Justice Judith Potter earlier this week, are expected to be made by tomorrow.

The Murienua petition filed by James Beer of  the Democratic Party alleging corruption was heard on Monday.

CIP’s Patrick Arioka won the seat in the election.

Beer’s petition is regarding works carried out in the Murienua constituency from April 14 until the week before the election date, in which he alleges no authority was provided for carrying out the work.

He also alleges no tendering process or environmental impact assessments were carried out for the works and no permit to carry out the works was obtained.

A number of witnesses took the stand at the petition hearing, including deputy prime minister and finance minister Mark Brown, who denied the roadworks carried out in the constituency was done to sway votes for CIP candidate Arioka.

The Mauke petition filed by One Cook Island’s Tungane Williams was the last one to be heard on Tuesday. Williams lost the seat by a single vote to CIP’s Tai Tura.

The result remained the same after a recount before Justice Williams last month, however the petitioner decided to continue with the case, which is based on a disallowed vote in the electorate.

The Avatiu-Ruatonga and Ngatangiia petitions were dismissed last week, while a decision on the Rakahanga petition filed by Democratic Party leader Tina Browne is expected later.

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