Cook Islands Party still hopeful despite odds

CIP campaign manager Mark Brown. Picture: COOK ISLAND NEWS

RAROTONGA, 19 JUNE 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – The Cook Islands Party (CIP) remains hopeful of some good news when the final counting of votes from the general election is finalised later this month.

After the initial count on Thursday night, none of the leading parties managed to gain the majority seats to form government.

CIP managed 10 seats, the Democratic Party had 11 seats, two seats went to independent candidates while One Cook Islands party had one seat.

Incumbent finance minister and CIP campaign manager Mark Brown said it was a close result, adding anything could happen in the coming days.

“There is no clear majority so I would like to give everybody some hope and some encouragement that final counts that will come in the next few days will tell the real story, particularly the close seats where they stand,” said Brown in an interview on the CIP Facebook page after the announcement of the preliminary results.

“Let’s look forward to that and also some other matters that may come up in the next few days. But there is no clear majority and I guess there will be a bit of horse trading taking place amongst different members of the two parties plus the independents and we will see what transpires then.”

Five constituencies polled close results where the winners were separated by less than 10 votes each.

Thanking the CIP’s supporters, Brown said the party was pleased with their campaign for this year’s election.

“For us, I’m very happy with the campaign that we have had. We congratulate our supporters and our candidates, in particular the members who have been successful. Congratulations as well to the new ones who have come in.

“Commiserations to those who have lost their seats and let’s wait on the final count, because some of the seats are too close to call and the special votes that are yet to be counted will make a difference in the final result.

“The game is not over yet and we look forward to seeing what the next couple of days brings.”

CIP lost three crucial seats to the Democratic Party, with deputy prime minister Teariki Heather losing to Nooroa Baker in Akaoa, health minister Nandi Glassie going down to young Te-Hani Brown in Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua and agriculture minister Kiriau Turepu losing his Matavera seat to Vaitoti Tupa.

The Henry Puna-led Cook Islands Party has been in power for the past two consecutive terms.

Meanwhile, the Elections Office is waiting for the ship carrying ballot boxes from the northern group islands to arrive on June 21 before finalising the election result.

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