Ruling party in Cook Islands closer to power after gaining 2 extra seats

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Cook Islands News front page 11082022
Cook Islands News front page today ... CIP gains key seats. Image: CIN screenshop APR

RNZ Pacific

The Cook Islands Party has gained two more seats following the final count of the general election, edging it closer to power.

The party, which is led by caretaker Prime Minister Mark Brown, now has 12 seats — with 13 required for a clear majority.

The results, issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, show that Kaka Ama of the Cook Islands Party (CIP) has claimed the Ngatangiia seat.

The seat initially ended in a tie with the United Party candidate following the preliminary count on August 1.

In Titikaveka, Sonny Williams from the CIP has claimed the seat, beating United Party’s Margaret Matenga who finished six votes ahead of Williams on election night.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Brown said he was confident of continuing the coalition arrangement with two independents to form a new government.

The Democrats have six seats — down from 11, United has three, and there are three independents.

Cook Islands Party logo
The Cook Islands Party … closer to retaining power. Image: CIP

Neither the One Cook Islands Movement nor the Progressive Party appear to have won any seats.

Yes to cannabis
The Cook Islands News is also reporting that a clear majority of voters said “yes” to the cannabis referendum which was held alongside the election.

The newspaper said the final results showed 62 percent voted “yes”, 35 percent voted “no” and the remaining 3 percent were “informal”.

The referendum is non-binding but Prime Minister Brown said in June the question was “deliberately broad” and the referendum would allow room for wider debate on medicinal cannabis.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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