2018 Cook Islands general election

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2018 Cook Islands general election

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24 seats
13 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Noimage.png Henry Puna 2015.jpg Noimage.png
Leader Tina Browne Henry Puna Teina Bishop
Leader since April 2017 September 2006 April 2014
Leader's seat Rakahanga (lost) Manihiki Did not contest
Last election 9 13 2
Seats won 11 10 1
Seat change Increase2 Decrease3 Decrease1

Prime Minister before election

Henry Puna

Prime Minister after election

Henry Puna

Flag of the Cook Islands.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Cook Islands

General elections were held in the Cook Islands on 14 June 2018 to elect the 24 members of the 15th Cook Islands Parliament.[1]

The nationalist, Cook Islands Party, led by the Prime Minister, Henry Puna, attempted to win a third consecutive term in government. However, the elections resulted in a hung parliament, with the opposition Democratic Party led by Tina Browne becoming the largest party, although Browne failed to win a seat, losing in Rakahanga constituency.

The Democratic Party won 11 seats, the Cook Islands Party 10 seats, One Cook Islands Movement one seat, with independent candidates winning two seats.[2] Following the election, the Cook Islands Party joined forces with the independents and One Cook Islands to retain power.[3]

Electoral system

The 24 members of the Parliament of the Cook Islands are elected from single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting.[4] As of 12 June 2018, there were 10,917 people enrolled to vote in the elections.[5]


Final results were published on 28 June.[6]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Cook Islands Party 3,654 42.30 10 –3
Democratic Party 3,620 41.91 11 +2
One Cook Islands Movement 934 10.81 1 –1
Titikaveka Oire 97 1.12 0 0
Alternative Must Ravenga Openga 7 0.08 0 New
Independents 326 3.77 2 +2
Invalid/blank votes
Total 8,638 100 24 0
Registered voters/turnout
Source: MFRM


As of 15 June 2018, a government is yet to be formed, and will likely require the confidence and supply of the One Cook Islands Movement or the independent members. Although the Democratic Party won the most seats, neither leader Tina Browne nor Deputy Leader James Beer were elected to Parliament. The constitution of the Cook Islands requires the Prime Minister to be a member of parliament.[7]

On 7 July the Cook Islands party formed an alliance with independent MPs Rose Toki-Brown and Robert Tapaitau, and One Cook Islands movement's George Maggie to retain power.[8] Toki-Brown, Tapaitau and Maggie were all appointed to Cabinet, replacing Ministers who had lost their seats.

Six electoral petitions were filed, challenging the results in Rakahanga, Murienua, Pukapuka-Nassau, Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston, Ngatangiia, and Mauke.[9] However, all of these petitions were rejected, confirming the result of the election.[10] Rakahanga MP Toka Hagai resigned on 1 November 2018 after allegations of treating.[11] In December 2018 the Court of Appeal ruled that Tina Browne had won the seat.[12]


  1. ^ Cook Island elections to be held on June 14 Radio NZ, 13 April 2018
  2. ^ "2018 General Election Live Blog". Cook Islands News.
  3. ^ "Cook Islands Cabinet revealed". Radio New Zealand International. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  4. ^ Cook Islands 2014 elections in brief Electoral Office
  5. ^ "Cook Islands Elections". Ministry of Finance and Economic Management.
  6. ^ Cook Islands Parliamentary Elections 2018 Public Notice No.8
  7. ^ Article 13.2.a Constitution
  8. ^ Rashneel Kumar (7 July 2018). "CIP set to maintain power". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  9. ^ Rashneel Kumar (7 July 2018). "Democratic Party files four out of six petitions". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  10. ^ Bamber, Shaun. "Rakahanga petition fails". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Cook Islands MP resigns amid legal action". RNZI. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Browne wins Cook Islands election petition on appeal". Radio New Zealand International. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
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