17 Feb 2015

Cooks by-election postponed after candidate death

11:46 am on 17 February 2015

A crucial by-election due in the Cook Islands is to be set for no later than the 17th April, following the death of one of the candidates, Kete Ioane.

Mr Ioane died in New Zealand on Friday, five days before the scheduled Vaipae-Tautu by-election on Aitutaki.

He was transferred to New Zealand for treatment after he was hospitalised on Rarotonga after he aggravated an old leg injury.

The Cook Islands Chief Electoral Officer says a new date for the by-election will be announced soon.

The opposition was hoping a win for Mr Ioane would mean the ability to form a coalition government.

The President of the Cook Islands Democratic Party, Sean Willis, says the death of Mr Ioane has left the community, and the party, shocked.

He says the party has stopped all campaigning and gone to support Mr Ioane's family.

"The family, and everybody, especially Democratic Party supporters, are shocked. When he had his operation he was well and up and then two days later things turned for the worse. So, we're shocked, but it's a matter of giving support to the family and moving on."