17 Nov 2010

98 percent of registered voters in Cook Islands expected to vote in general elections

7:46 am on 17 November 2010

The Cook Islands general elections will be held tomorrow and at least 98 percent of registered eligible voters are expected to cast a vote.

Voters will also be able to decide tomorrow whether they want to see a reduction of MP's in the 24-seat Parliament in a national referendum.

Our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan reports:

"Although there have been recent transportation problems in the Cook Islands, Chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua says voting and referendum forms have been distributed to all inhabited islands of the Cook group. Distributing voting and referendum forms has been difficult as the outer islands are widely scattered and there has been a shipping and fuel shortage. The electoral office says all ballot boxes from the outer islands will have to be returned to main island Rarotonga for the final count - an exercise that will take a few days. There is widespread speculation that with so many independent candidates contesting the general elections, the outcome will result in the formation of a coalition government between successful independent candidates and either the Democratic Party or Cook Islands Party."