24 Sep 2004

Details needed to support Cooks election challenges

1:45 pm on 24 September 2004

Election officials in the Cook Islands are to ask lawyers for more details on claims and counter-claims filed by candidates in the aftermath of the general election.

One report says that the Cook Islands Party candidate Henry Puna has accused the Prime Minister, Doctor Robert Woonton, of buying votes, after he won his seat in Manihiki by four votes.

The electoral registrar, Nooapii Tearea, says he's meeting lawyers representing the different parties today.

But Mr Tearea says some of the allegations in the petitions need more details.

"That some of the petitions filed, there's insufficient details as to the allegations, or as to the grounds for the petitions. We'll be discussing that counsel should file further particulars to enable the respondents to prepare themselves as to the allegations filed in the petitions."

The deadline for petitions passed yesterday.

Parliament can neither sit nor a new government be chosen until the petitions are all heard.