Rasmussen provisional winner in Cooks by-election

A by-election last week in the northern island of Penrhyn in the Cooks group has given Cook Islands Party candidate, Wilkie Rasmussen victory by a narrow margin.

The preliminary count of votes gives Mr Rasmussen 104 votes against Independent candidate, Tepure Tapaitau, with 100 votes.

Deputy chief electoral officer, Nooapii Tearea, says a final count should be completed later this week.

Here's our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme-Buchanan.

"The by-election result reflects past trends where candidates win by just a hand ful of votes.. Wilkie Rasmussen also won the seat during the 1999 general election, after the preliminary count, only to lose it to Tepure Tapaitau after the final count of all the special votes cast...Because of this Mr Rasmussen may be saving the celebrations and champagne until after the final count is completed and his victory possibly confirmed"

Next story in Pacific: FMA president says she doesnt know how minister would carry out threats