22nd May, 2014
A regional women’s organisation says the hurried timing of the elections in Cook Islands has left potential women candidates behind.
Last month, Prime Minister Henry Puna called a snap election amid opposition claims he was to lose a vote of no confidence in parliament.
Cook Islanders will go to the polls on July 9 and registrations have now closed.
Alexis Wolfgramm from the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association says the rush has meant women candidates have had to withdraw.
“With the rush and the uncertainty for some of our prospective candidates they felt the timing wasn’t good,” Ms Wolfgramm told Pacific Beat.
“(The felt) they didn’t have enough time to prepare their constituency committees and their campaign and so they withdrew.”
There are 24 seats in the Cook Islands Parliament and Ms Wolfgramm says the association was hoping to have at least 10 women candidates lined up.
Only 6 have been put forward for July’s election.
“We’re quite disappointed that the governing party, the Cook Islands Party, has fielded one woman candidate against a very, very strong democrat and a very safe democrat seat, and she is the only candidate that they have fielded at all.”
Ms Wolfgramm says the rush has also meant familiar candidates have been nominated.
“Parties have also, I don’t think, spent quality time on looking at their field of candidates and they have once again proposed many of the same faces.”
She says it will be “same old, same old” with the governing party but it’s less clear with the opposition Democratic Party.
“There may be some new faces in the parliament but there will certainly be the same faces in cabinet.”
[Source: Australia Network News]