The Northern group island of Manihiki. PHOTO: Cook Islands Tourism 19083028
One hundred and thirty voters are listed on the electoral roll for the Manihiki by-election to be held on Wednesday, May 5.
Three candidates vying for the significant
seat: Akaiti Puna for the Cook Islands Party, Munokoa Maraeara for the
Democratic Party, and Tamaroatemu (Temu) Okotai is standing as an independent
Chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua said
the ballot papers and all electoral materials were sent to Manihiki on April
“No officials will be travelling from
Rarotonga to Manihiki – the electoral officers have been selected,” she said.
There are two polling booths on Manihiki, one
in Tauhunu and the other in Tukao.
The scrutineers for the by-election are the
responsibility of the candidates, and each may appoint at most two scrutineers
for each polling station.
The chief electoral officer said as the law
requires, there will be two counts of the votes to be conducted.
The preliminary counting of votes will be
conducted as soon as practicable after the close of the poll.
“There will be a scrutiny of rolls and a final
count of votes followed by the declaration of the result. A recount or an
appeal to the result may be made by application, these are all procedural due
Tangimetua said seven postal votes (overseas)
were issued and six have been received as of Thursday.
The by-election was prompted by the
resignation of the former Manihiki Member of Parliament and former prime
minister Henry Puna, who was elected to be the next Secretary General of the
Pacific Islands Forum.
His wife Akaiti Puna a contender for the seat
The result of the by-election is crucial. With
the Manihiki seat currently vacant, the governing Cook Islands Party coalition
holds 12 of the 24 seats in Parliament, and the Opposition Democratic Party
Informed sources have told Cook Islands News
that should the Democratic Party win the Manihiki by-election, they believe
this would lead to the government to call a snap election.
However, in an earlier interview with this
newspaper, Prime Minister Mark Brown dismissed any suggestion he would call a