16 Nov 2010

Cooks elections near with 70 candidates standing

2:38 pm on 16 November 2010

A record 70 candidates are contesting the Cook Islands general elections which will be held in two days.

But this year's general elections will make history for a number of other firsts, as our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan reports:

"The Cook Islands general elections for 2010 have the highest number of independent candidates to have ever taken part in the poll. The 16 Independents contesting seats could change the political landscape that has been dominated by the two main groups, the Cook Islands Party and the Democratic Party. Should at least two independents get voted in, they could hold the balance of power in the 24 seat parliament. This is causing concern that if neither of the two major parties have a clear majority it could be some time after the elections before a government can be formed. A record nine women are also hoping to be voted in. Cook Islands general elections have traditionally had very high voter turnouts."