Friday January 25, 2019 Written by Rashneel Kumar Published in Local

Ivirua MP Agnes Armstrong.

Cook Islands National Council of Women has welcomed the election of Agnes Armstrong as the newest Member of Parliament (MP).

Armstrong became the sixth female MP after winning the Ivirua by-election on Mangaia on Monday.

While congratulating Armstrong, council president Rebecca Hosking-Ellis said they were proud to see the increase in the number of successful female politicians.

Armstrong’s election as a MP takes the female representation in the Parliament to 25 per cent.

“We are very happy to see that women are now taking up the biggest challenge ever and witnessing their success in running for politics in the Cook Islands is a proud moment for all of us,” Hosking-Ellis said.

“It’s a milestone (to have six women MPs) and we are very proud of Agnes’ achievements.

“The Cook Islands National Council of Women wishes her the very best. We are here to support the women in politics.”

In the 2018 general election, 12 female candidates contested for seats in the Parliament.

Only four, including the youngest MP ever Te-Hani Brown, were successful. The other successful female candidates were Rose Brown, who is now the Health minister, Selina Napa and Tetangi Matapo.

Democratic Party leader Tina Browne managed a seat in the Parliament after winning the petition appeal late last year.

In the Ivirua by-election, Armstrong contested against three other candidates – all males – and recorded a comprehensive win.

She managed 48 votes ahead of Cook Islands Party’s Daryl Rairi on 30, Teariki Heather of Cook Islands Unity Party on four and independent candidate Jason Teremoana received only one vote.

“Agnes Armstrong’s win in the by-election show that women are now achieving their goals in leadership,” Hosking-Ellis said.

“She and the other female MPs are opening the path for other women to look ahead and believe that nothing is impossible when it comes to achieving goals. A good woman can be a good leader.”

Hosking-Ellis said the council has its door open and is willing to assist any women in any field.

“We are here to assist the women of the Cook Islands. We are very proud of the achievements they have made and it coincides with what we believe in the empowerment of women and girls.”