REFERENDUM ON COOK ISLANDS PARLIAMENT TERMS REFERRED BACK TO GOVERNMENT

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (June 30, 1999 - PACNEWS/CITV)---A referendum in the Cook Islands to decide whether the people want their parliamentarians to have a five year or four year term has gone back to the Government for review.

Sixty-three percent of the voters said yes to a shorter, four-year term. The number needed for a referendum issue to pass, however, is 66 2/3 percent or two thirds of the registered voters.

While voter turnout for the Cook Islands general election was high, as usual, many did not vote at all on the referendum issue.

In Penrhyn, while the voter turn out was 97 percent, only 144 of the 252 who voted bothered to indicate their preference on the referendum issue.

This now means Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry's new coalition government will have to decide on the issue.

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