FEW SURPRISES EXPECTED IN QUIET NIUE ELECTIONS

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ALOFI, Niue (Niue News, April 28) – Seven of 14 village representatives are up for election along with six common roll members in elections this weekend on Niue.

It’s the eleventh general election since the island gained self-governing status in free association with New Zealand in 1974.

Polling stations are being set up in village halls around the island with public servants employed to man the booths.

The chief electoral office Togia Sioneholo and his staff at the Justice Department are responsible for vote counting and results should be known by around 9 p.m.

Political observers on the island say it’s the "quietest" election run-up ever recorded on the island.

There has been no campaigning and it appears the previous assembly headed by Premier Young Vivian will be re-elected.

With a population of only 1,200 most voters personally know the candidates.

The absence of Party politics this election has also been listed as a contributing factor to a lack of campaigning.

Candidates have been offered airtime on radio and TV but few have shown any interest. But there has been additional interest in expatriate Niueans this year. A movement has started to try and get islanders living overseas to have a say in who gets elected to the local Assembly.

However that would mean changing the Constitution and with most local residents against the idea of broadening the voting base its unlikely to ever get off the ground.

April 29, 2005

Niue News: http://www.niuenews.nu/

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