Napa has support for PM job in Cook Islands

Selina Napa says she has put her hand up for the top job. Picture: COOK ISLANDS NEWS

RAROTONGA, 20 JUNE 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – An online campaign has started on social media website Facebook in support of a bid to appoint Cook Islands first female prime minister.

A Facebook page called “Cook Islands first female prime minister” is encouraging the Democratic Party, which is likely to form the upcoming coalition government, to appoint re-elected Titikaveka MP Selina Napa as the country’s first female leader.

In its initial post, the page said the country had been self-governing for more than 50 years, adding in that time, nine men have taken the top job of PM.

“Isn’t it time a woman took the lead? When we have experienced, well-educated women ready to take on the role, the answer is why not?” the post read.

“Whatever your political affiliation, the votes are in. Let’s encourage the Demos to choose Sel Napa for the leadership and take a stand for our iti vaine, Cook Islands-wide.

“Use the hashtag #Sel4PM to show the Demos, it’s time to choose a woman to lead.”

The Democratic Party will this week decide on their candidate for prime minister’s job after Tina Browne, the party’s current leader, failed to win in her Rakahanga constituency.

The incumbent parliamentary opposition leader William “Smiley” Heather, Ngatangiia MP Tama Tuavera and Napa are considered the frontrunners for the PM position.

Napa, who won with 198 votes in her constituency, which was contested by four other candidates, acknowledged she is vying for the top job.

“I wouldn’t lie, I’m putting my hand up for the leadership role like others in the party, but that’s not our major focus at the moment,” Napa said.

“The focus is to secure the numbers once the final result is confirmed and get the majority to form a government, and then we will look into who will be leading the country.

“When the time is right, we will meet and discuss together as to who will lead the country.”

When asked about the Facebook campaign supporting her bid to become the country’s first female PM, Napa said “that’s public opinion of what they want and I thank them for their support.

“I also thank the people of Teimurimotia, especially those who exercised their right to vote, for their support.

“The result that we have achieved in this election is overwhelming. It was quite nerve-wracking waiting for the result and I thank the Lord for putting me back there (in parliament),” she said.

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