21 Sep 2004

Cook Islands Democratic party files six petitions over election results

1:10 pm on 21 September 2004

The Cook Islands Democratic party is filing six petitions over results in the recent general elections.

The party has won 14 of the 24 seats but its lawyer, Charles Little, says they're challenging the outcomes in two constituencies and defending their ability to present evidence in four other seats.

He says they're contesting the results in Penrhyn, and in Rakahanga, where the speaker of the house, Sir Pupuke Robati, lost to independent Piho Rua.

And, he says defensive petitions are also being filed for Mitiaro, and for constituencies in Atiu and Aitutaki, as well as Titikaveka on Rarotonga.

"It's purely for the purposes of ensuring that we don't prejudice our rights in any way or that the Democratic party doesn't by failing to file. Because, quite simply, if you don't file a petition, then you may very well be restricted in terms of the evidence you can lead at a petition hearing."

Mr Little says parliament must be called and sit within three months of the election but under the constitution all election petitions have to be dealt with first.