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Cook Islands

Brown on track to remain PM

Mark Brown is on track to remain prime minister of the Cook Islands after the Cook Islands Party secured ten seats in the general elections.

The Cook Islands parliament is made up of 24 seats and to gain a majority to form a government, 13 seats are required.

Currently, coalition talks have begun in earnest, with the governing Cook Islands Party talking with the new United Party who have been the surprise package of this year’s election.

Cook Islands party leader Mark Brown and candidate Rose Brown celebrate their wins. Picture: Cook Islands Party

With the preliminary results, the Cook Islands Party have won 10 seats, the United Party four, three independents have claimed seats in the outer islands and the Democratic Party, which were the opposition, have won six seats.

One seat is still in contention where a draw was declared in normal polling but special votes and postal ballots will decide how this seat will go.

This year’s election has been very different from the one in 2018 where it required the independents to support the Cook Islands Party.

Mark Brown is on track to remain prime minister of the Cook Islands after the Cook Islands Party secured ten seats in the general elections. Picture: Fijian Government

In 2018, Henry Puna was elected prime minister but passed the helm to Mark Brown when Mr Puna was appointed as the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum.

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If the coalition gets through it will see Mark Brown become prime minister through a general election for the first time.

This year will also see Mr Puna’s wife Akaiti Puna enter parliament as a chosen representative from the island of Manihiki.

Tehani Brown (middle) won her seat in Atiu. Mark Brown is on track to remain prime minister of the Cook Islands after the Cook Islands Party secured ten seats in the general elections. Picture: Cook Islands Party

Before the elections there was speculation of a pending change in power, and this prompted the Cook Islands Government to stay home and campaign rather than attend the recent Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting.

The final results of the poll will be known by this weekend and it is most likely that the Cook Islands Party will come back in power.

The final count will also reveal the non-binding referendum taken by Cook Islanders on whether to legalise medicinal marijuana or not.

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