Lobbying intensifies in the Cook Islands as parties vie to form next government

Cook Islands Parliament Picture: Supplied

RAROTONGA, 05 JULY 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – Intense lobbying is continuing in the Cook Islands as the two main parties there try to convince independents and a minor party representative to help them gain a majority in the 24 seat parliament.

The three candidates who hold the balance of power are now on Rarotonga; one from the One Cook Islands Party, and two Independents.

Official election results confirmed the Democratic Party led the vote by the slimmest of margins.

Although the Democratic Party plans to appeal, with petitions currently with lawyers before being filed in the High Court.

Radio New Zealand Pacific correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme-Buchanan says historically government forming periods have always been lengthy in the Cook Islands.

“The parties have to try and get a majority which would then take them to the next step of presenting themselves to the Queen’s Representative, who will then satisfy himself that the party that does present themselves does have a majority and can form a government.

“The parties have a period of 90 days in which to do that, and this kind of negotiation time has been known to take quite some time because no doubt the independents and the One Cook Islands will be holding out for the best possible deal for themselves, whatever side they end up joining, said Syme-Buchanan.