14 Oct 2023

TOP leader falls well short in bid to win electorate seat

8:50 pm on 14 October 2023
TOP leader Raf Manji has just arrived to a lengthy applause at Elmwood Bowling Club in Ilam. He appears relaxed, smiling and saying "apparently there's a party here" as he got out of his car. He says so far, it's a strong result for National and there's a clear trend of people doing two ticks blue in the electorate.

TOP leader Raf Manji at Elmwood Bowling Club in Ilam. Photo: RNZ / Niva Chittock

The Opportunities Party leader Raf Manji says he's taking time to consider what he'll do next after failing to win the Christchurch seat of Ilam.

Manji said that TOP just had not been able to peel off enough votes from National.

The minor party which was founded in 2016 by Gareth Morgan had hoped it might make it into Parliament on the basis of winning that electorate.

With 39 percent of the vote counted as of almost 9pm, Manji is second on 5142 votes, with National's Hamish Campbell leading on 10,119, an insurmountable lead.

Manji told reporters it is a strong result for National and it is probably all over for him in Ilam.

He says he probably will not run in the seat again.

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