Posted at 03:30 on 31 January, 2013 UTC
Just three votes separate the candidates of a by-election in the Cook Islands constituency of Tamarua on the island of Mangaia, favouring the opposition party.
The Cook Islands Party nominated Tokorua Pereina to contest the seat, left vacant after last year’s death of the representative, Pukeiti Pukeiti.
But the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Wilkie Rasmussen, says the preliminary results show its candidate Tetangi Matapo has won by three votes, although a final vote count will determine the winner.
Mr Rasmussen says if the result is upheld, it will increase the seats held by the opposition to nine and Tetangi Matapo will become the party’s third female member of parliament.
“In the cause of promoting more women in parliament which is a policy of the Democratic Party and of course it is consistent with a number of regional initiatives in the Pacific for more women to become involved in politics, we are certainly meeting those requirements.”
The leader of the opposition Wilkie Rasmussen.
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