Large Turnout In Cook Islands By-Election Returns Internal Affairs Minister To Office

Albert Nicholas resigned after defecting from opposition, forcing the by-election 

By Richard Moore

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 18, 2017) – A large turnout of voters kept electoral officials at the RAPPA polling station busy yesterday as they had their say on who should represent them in parliament.

The choice was between sitting member and official CIP candidate Albert Nicholas, the former CIP MP now independent John Henry and the Democrat Teina Rongo.

At the time of the CI News going to press the interim result was not known and the final tally will be released today. That total will include postal and “sick” ballots, voting in advance numbers and votes by declaration.

[PIR editor's note: On May 19, 2017 RNZI reported that 'A by-election in the Cook Islands today was a resounding victory for Internal Affairs minister Albert Nicholas. ... Mr Nicholas, who stood for the ruling Cook Islands Party, gained 316 votes in the Ruatonga, Avatiu, Panama, Palmerston and Atupa constituency. ... The opposition Democratic Party had pinned its hopes on Dr Teina Rongo winning, however he polled just 163 votes. ... The third candidate John Henry got 24 votes. ... Mr Nicholas had resigned, forcing a by-election, to end controversy over his earlier defection from the Democrats.']

The voting booth opened yesterday morning at 9am and continued through to 6pm.

Returning officer Enua Pakitoa said there were a lot of people out early to vote, including Nicholas. When CI News was at the booth mid-morning, Rongo cast his vote.

Pakitoa said there had been a good turnout with the busy periods being the early morning, lunchtime and then in the late afternoon.

He said there were roughly 700 voters in the electorate, although a few people had registered late.

The process meant voters could check their names were on the electoral rolls at a table outside the poll room and could take in the page and line number they were on to make it easier for electoral officers.

“We just make sure you are an eligible voter,” Pakitoa said.

He said his team had begun counting early votes yesterday. They included postal and advance votes.

Yesterday afternoon a mobile booth went to visit sick people in their homes.

Palmerston votes will be counted for the final tally today.

Cook Islands News
Copyright © 2017 Cook Islands News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment