Cook Islands Democratic Party (DP) leader Wilkie Rasmussen says his party will be challenging the result of the national election, saying the process was mishandled. Official results returned Prime Minister Henry Puna’s Cook Islands Party (CIP) to government with a majority of 13 seats in the 24-member parliament. Mr Rasmussen, who lost his seat at the July 9 election, says questions have been raised about many aspects of the process, including concerns that the prime minister’s son accompanied ballot papers back from New Zealand. The initial count pointed toward a win for the DP but a huge surge of last minute declaration and postal votes turned the result, raising questions of corruption.
“The levels of allegations of corruption and bribery in particular in the outer islands is just horrendous,” Mr Rasmussen told Pacific Beat. “There is certainly a lot of questions that were raised during the counting process where our scrutineers believe we were terribly unfavoured in that process.”
He says a recount would give his party a majority seat win. “The analysis of the results that came in show that the democrats won more votes, there were more people that voted for the democratic party,” he said.