12 Nov 2018

Stay in Cooks over Rakahanga electoral dispute

5:25 am on 12 November 2018
Cook Islands Parliament.

Cook Islands Parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Cook Islands Court of Appeal has upheld a stay on a by-election in Rakahanga, which is the focus of an electoral petition.

The stay was brought by the Democratic Party's Tina Browne, after MP Toka Hagai resigned when a petition was brought against him over his June election victory.

He is accused of treating voters to food and alcohol at a campaign meeting in exchange for votes.

Mr Hagai beat Ms Browne by eight votes.

Ms Browne appealed for the stay to upheld while the courts determine whether Mr Hagai's meeting constituted corruption.

In its judgement, the Court of Appeal said Mr Hagai's resignation should not get rid of any electoral petition, and that a by-election cannot be called until the election petition is determined.

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