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The future of the ruling Cook Islands Government hangs in a balance, after a win by the Democratic Party in the Invirua by-election Tuesday.
Agnes Armstrong retained her late husband's seat for Invirua constituency - giving the opposition party 12 seats - equal to Prime Minister Henry Puna's Cook Islands Party.
Armstrong was declared winner of the Ivirua seat after the preliminary count. The seat was left vacant after the passing of the candidate’s husband, the late Anthony Armstrong.
Armstrong won majority with 48 votes, Daryl Rairi of the Cook Islands Party had 30 votes, Teariki Heather of the newly formed Cook Islands United Party had four while Independent candidate Jason Teremoana received one.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, Taggy Tangimetua all votes cast at this election included Postal Votes, Ordinary, Advance and Special Votes.
She said an official declaration of the poll will be made after the conduct of scrutiny of rolls as per S76 of the Electoral Act.
According to the Elections Office, scrutiny will take place on Mangaia. Final results are expected later this week.
With the preliminary results, the Democratic Party now has 12 seats, and the CIP coalition 12 which has resulted in a hung Parliament.
Next steps will be for either side to try to negotiate and lure members from the other side. The Prime Minister must command the majority of the house.
The Prime Minister can ask the Queens Representative to call a general election but the QR must first make sure that no alternate government can be formed before doing so.
SOURCE: PACNEWS/RADIO COOK ISLANDS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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