10 Feb 2005

Initial results indicate Cook Islands Party wins by-election

9:48 am on 10 February 2005

Preliminary results from yesterday's by-election in the Cook Islands seat of Manihiki indicate that the seat has been won by Henry Puna.

The Cook Islands Party candidate polled 120 votes - 20 more than the Democratic Party's Apii Piho.

The seat became vacant after the former prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, agreed to step down as MP if a court challenge over his win in the September election was withdrawn by the other candidate, Mr Puna.

Mr Puna put his win down to a number of factors...

"Obviously there's the attraction of the fact that the Cook Islands Party is in government, in coalition, and so I think that carried a lot of weight with the electors. And also that the party organisation here is very strong and also the family connections ."

Final results are expected by Saturday.