Cook Islands Opposition Parties Not Concerned About Splitting Vote

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Democratic, One Cook Islands Parties each competing in Vaipae-Tautu

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, March 9, 2015) – The Democratic Party and One Cook Islands decision to each put up their own candidates in Vaipae-Tautu is raising questions about the coalition between the two parties, once described as ‘strong’.

Three candidates are now confirmed for the by-election set for March 31: the Cook Islands Party’s Moana Ioana, One Cook Islands’ Amiria Davey and the Democratic Party’s Teinakore Ioane.

One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop was campaign manager for the Demos when the late Kete Ioane was contesting the seat, but after an apparent falling out with the Democratic Party, decided to put forward his own candidate.

Asked if he was concerned about a further split in the votes risking a Cook Islands Party win, Bishop said he wasn’t worried about it.

"There are still four weeks to go until the election – this is politics."

In previous interviews Bishop has not ruled out forming coalitions with either the Democratic or Cook Islands parties.

But Democratic Party general secretary Eddie Drollet said his party was conscious of the effect if vote-splitting.

"Our preferred option was to put forward a joint candidate with One Cook Islands, but it is out of our hands now," he said.

"We are one of the main parties, so we had to put a candidate forward."

Chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua said there were over 400 voters on the Vaipae-Tautu roll.

"I have planned the final count to be conducted on Thursday April 2. That’s when the winning candidates will be determined."

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