8 Sep 2004

Cook Islanders go to polls

9:33 am on 8 September 2004

The Cook Islands is holding its general election today with close to 10 thousand people eligible to cast a vote.

Voting is underway with polling booths opening about two hours ago.

Linda Skates filed this report from Rarotonga.

"Only one MP, Jim Marurai, can be certain that he will be returned as he is unopposed in the Mangaia constituency of Ivi Rua. The other 23 constituencies are keenly contested. And there is some uncertainty as to whether the two main parties, the Democratic Party and the Cook Islands Party, will fight it out on their own or in certain constituencies face a challenge from either independents or the newly formed Tumu Enua group. On Atiu, Norman George, is standing as leader of Tumu Enua after the Democratic Party refused to endorse him as the official candidate, so it could be a close race. And several independents on Rarotonga, like Elizabeth Ponga, Terri Carr, Jessie Sword and Brett Porter, are mounting challenges to some long-standing MPs. Preliminary results are expected later tonight."