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Two new MPs top voting in Niue election, Premier Toke Talagi loses seat
10:51 pm GMT+12, 31/05/2020, Niue

Two newcomers have topped weekend polling in Niue's six Common Roll seats.
 
Former Secretary to Government, Richard Hipa, a first time candidate, topped the Common Roll votes with 440 and now looks to be a contender for the premiership.
 
Hipa is also a former telecommunications chief executive.
 
He had been campaigning on co-ordinated long term policies to attract the island's educated young home.
 
A former Director for the Environment, Sauni Tongatule, was second place with 391 votes.
 
Former Wellington mayor and MP, Mark Blumsky, lost his bid for a place in Niue's parliament as did former premier Young Vivian.
 
Two new MPs have come out of the Common Roll while there are currently three new MPs out of the 14 village seats.
 
One of the seats, Mutalau, will be decided by a coin toss in the coming days after the two candidates finished with the same number of votes.
 
Broadcasting Corporation Niue's Esther Pavihi said it was interesting to see two new MPs-to-be receive the most support.
 
“It's not surprising with Sauni Tongatule, because he polled seventh in 2017 but for Richard Hipa, first-timer, that's a great effort. The will of the people has shown that they have confidence in Richard Hipa."
 
The remaining Common Roll MPs are all returning members including Crossley Tatui, Stan Kalauni, and veterans O'love Jacobsen and Terry Coe.
 
Meanwhile, the now outgoing Premier of Niue, Sir Toke Talagi, has lost his bid for a Common Roll seat in the weekend's election, effectively ending his 12 year reign.
 
Sir Toke had kept a low profile in the lead-up to the election, missing many of the public forums and organised question and answer sessions in the weeks preceding the vote.
 
In last month's final sitting of the House Sir Toke confirmed he was contesting the general election despite concerns by some MPs over his health condition.
 
In provisional results released by BCN, the veteran politician, ranked 10th out of a record 26 candidates running for the six Common Roll seats.
 
Sir Toke Talagi had been the island's leader since 2008 and had been an MP since 2002.


SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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