Out of 24 seats in Parliament, the Cook Islands Party (CIP) has emerged from the general election with 13 - but the majority of those are in the outer islands.
“Yes we have lost seats in Rarotonga, and I think that this is an indication that voters may have been swayed by the saturated negative campaigning from the Demos,” said party leader and Prime Minister elect Henry Puna.
He said his party had made tough decisions in its policies and projects, but the Demos had twisted the facts and alleged corruption, conflicts of interest and the mistreatment of pensioners.
“There is no truth to all of this negative and misleading campaigning from Demos. The facts are there for everyone to see and our people will soon get to see the benefits from these tough policy decisions in the very near future.”
A strong result in the Pa Enua – where the CIP won 10 out of 14 seats – showed that the people there had not been influenced by the negative politics in Rarotonga, Puna said.
“It is also a clear indication that our infrastructure and energy projects are paying off and the benefits are being realised by our people.”
Demo Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Puna also addressed rumours of rumblings within the CIP and its leadership team.
“Our caucus and party are solid. Rumours of internal rumblings are created from the outside by our enemies and these have no substance whatsoever.”
He said the party is prepared to deal with the eight petitions – contesting election results in Rarotonga and the Pa Enua – filed by the Democratic Party.
Any talk of coalitions will not come until the petitions have been addressed and seat numbers finalised, Puna said.
“We have not had any discussion with One Cook Islands (OCI) or the Demos and we are disappointed that there are potential moves being made to destabilise our party and take away the choice that the people have made.”
Those comments are no doubt made in reference to discussions held in recent days between OCI leader Teina Bishop and a number of CIP Members of Parliament.
Puna said the CIP is open to partnerships at the right time and with the right conditions.
“We are putting the interests of our people first and foremost and are willing to put aside our differences to get things done and to provide stability.”