28 Dec 2018

Cook Islands government not threatened by by-election

9:39 am on 28 December 2018

The ruling party in the Cook Islands is confident it will survive a by-election next month and continue to govern.

George Maggie, Rose Toki Brown, Henry Puna and Robert Tapaitau.

George Maggie, Rose Toki Brown, Henry Puna and Robert Tapaitau. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Florence Syme-Buchanan

The Cook Islands Party of Prime Minister Henry Puna has nine seats in the 24 seat parliament but governs with the support of two independents and the One Cook Islands party which holds one seat.

The opposition Democratic Party has 10 seats which will soon be boosted to 11 when Tina Browne is confirmed as the MP for Rakahanga following a successful court appeal.

The by-election, scheduled for January 21, was prompted by the death last month of Democratic MP Tony Armstrong.

The poll will be determined by the 80 voters in the Ivirua electorate.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown said the Cook Islands Party was preparing to mount a strong campaign in the electorate on Mangaia.

But their candidate Daryl Rairi will face stiff competition, with Mr Armstrong's wife Agnes running for the Democrats and Mr Puna's former deputy, Teariki Heather, standing for his newly-formed party.

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