The Cook Islands' newly re-elected Prime Minister will be absent from today's Pacific leaders summit in Palau due to challenges over the country's election results.
The Minister of Finance for the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, is attending the 45th Pacific Islands Forum on behalf of Henry Puna.
Nine petitions have been filed with the High Court challenging the results of the July 9 elections in which the Cook Islands Party won a majority with 13 seats.
Mark Brown says Mr Puna has remained in the Cook Islands to defend those challenges.
"Now that the result has been finalised, and the government has been voted back in, there are now a number of electoral petitions that have been filed against the results of certain seats, and the Prime Minister is leading the defence of the court actions that may result from that."
The Minister of Finance for the Cook Islands, Mark Brown.