14 Sep 2004

Democratic party in Cook Islands consolidates election lead

6:32 am on 14 September 2004

The Democratic Party looks to be consolidating its lead in the Cook Islands general election.

Final counts are continuing nearly a week after the election, with the Democratic Party picking up another seat on the main island of Rarotonga.

This means the DP's tally has now reached 14 seats while the Cook Islands Party drop from ten to nine, while a split vote remains on the northern islands seat of Rakahanga.

On the southern group island of Atiu the DP candidate Eugene Tatuava has won the seat from longstanding MP Norman, George.

Mr Tatuava believes there will be a strong challenge from Mr George.

Our correspondent reports that Mr George is known to be questioning the validity of some of the votes.

A candidate has seven days to launch a petition, following the final count.