22 Jul 2014

Rasmussen to challenge Cooks election loss

4:21 pm on 22 July 2014

The leader of the Democratic Party in the Cook Islands says invalid votes cast in the election cost him his seat in parliament and he will therefore challenge the result.

The official count from the electoral office shows the Cook Islands Party has the majority with 13 seats, the Democratic Party has eight, the One Cook Islands Movment has two and one seat is still tied.

The Democratic Party leader, Wilkie Rasmussen, says only residents are allowed to vote but he says a group of 19 people from Australia was allowed to vote which cost him the Penrhyn electorate.

"They all are relatives of my opponent and they naturally voted for him and I had objected to them before but the electoral office kept them on the role and we are challenging their eligibilty on the basis of their permanent place of residence."

Wilkie Rasmussen says the group has unfairly altered the vote for the Penrhyn residents and he will petition the result.