18 May 2017

Cooks' Nicholas has big win in by-election

7:58 pm on 18 May 2017

A by-election in the Cook Islands today was a resounding victory for Internal Affairs minister Albert Nicholas.

Cook Islands Minister of Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas

Cook Islands Minister of Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas Photo: RNZI/Flo Syme-Buchanan

Mr Nicholas, who stood for the ruling Cook Islands Party, gained 316 votes in the Ruatonga, Avatiu, Panama, Palmerston and Atupa constituency.

The opposition Democratic Party had pinned its hopes on Dr Teina Rongo winning, however he polled just 163 votes.

The third candidate John Henry got 24 votes.

Mr Nicholas had resigned, forcing a by-election, to end controversy over his earlier defection from the Democrats.

The Democrats had brought legal action asserting this contravened parliament's rules on party hopping.

A High Court rejected that, but it clarified some of the matters around the legislation, and this appeared to force the government to call a by-election.

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