10 Dec 2004

Cooks electorate recount today

2:13 pm on 10 December 2004

Electoral staff in the Cook Islands are conducting a recount in the disputed Titikaveka constituency today after nine voters were struck out following a High Court hearing.

There are only six votes separating the winner of Titikaveka, Robert Wigmore, and the challenger, Tiki Matapo.

The High Court yesterday heard an electoral petition filed by Mr Matapo, asking for eleven voters to be declared ineligible.

Justice Kenneth Hingston handed down a judgement today, declaring nine of the eleven voters invalid.

The chief registrar of electors, Terry Hagan, says the final outcome is anyone's guess.

"No-one has any idea of knowing how those nine voters made judgement. It's now over to the electoral staff to conduct the final count at the direction of the court and to report back to the court when that is completed."

Mr Hagan says the results of the recount should be known later today.

Meanwhile a second petition, involving the Prime Minister, Robert Woonton, and Henry Puna in Manihiki, is ongoing.