Cooks Democratic leader says election result invalid
The Cook Islands Democratic Party says its party could still win the election and it will challenge the vote count.
The Cook Islands Democratic Party says it could still win the election and it will challenge the vote count.
According to the official count, the Cook Islands Party won the majority with 13 seats while the Democratic Party won eight.
The One Cook Islands Movement has won two and one seat is tied.
The Democratic Party leader, Wilkie Rasmussen told Daniela Maoate-Cox that bribery, and invalid votes from overseas electors cost the party an election win.
WILKIE RASMUSSEN:I won on Penrhyn. I won the count here in Rarotonga in terms of Penrhyn Islanders voting in Rarotonga but I lost because there was a group of people from Australia that went to the island who qualified and who left and voted by post from Australia. So they were all relatives of my opponent and of course naturally they voted for him and I had objected to them before but the Electoral Office kept them on the roll and the Electoral Act describes that they had to have Penrhyn Island as their place of abode.
DANIELA MAOATE-COX: So you're saying that votes were allowed that were ineligible?
WR:Yes those were decisions made by the Electoral Office and of course the communication from the Electoral Office was very poor. They never replied back with regard to their decision as to whether to keep them on the roll or not but I am very confident that we will succeed in our petition because there's precedent that supports the grounds that we are pursuing.
DM: So how many electorates will you be petitioning?
WR: There are four that are very close and these results could be turned the other way if we are able to strike off some voters or if we are able to convince the court that the people that we have discarded, if we are able to reinstate that status quo, we are going to have 11 seats and we will then look at the other seats as we go through to take us to a majority we predict to be around about 14.
DM-C: So you still think you could win this election?
WR: Yes, we do. There are more democratic people that voted in this election for the democratic party and further more there has been a lot of allegations about incompetence and misadministration by the Electoral Office here. For instance, postal votes from New Zealand never got here until two days after the closing of the polls.
DM-C: Will you be laying an official complaint about that?
WR: Yes, we will be. The first approach for us was to strike off the voters that we think are not qualified and the second part of it of course is to deal with all the allegations of bribery and corruption that has taken place.
DM-C: Can you tell me a little more about that?
WR: Oh, look, for example the Prime Minister made an announcement in a public meeting in Manihiki that if he wins he would buy for each person there a 15 horsepower outboard motor so it's these things. But there are also allegations of money exchanging hands.
DM-C: Have you got the evidence to back up those allegations?
WR: Of course, we have done our homework. We have checked on the facts and we are pretty sure that in some cases there might be by-elections because elections of such MPs will be deemed void.
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