29 Oct 2003

Cook Islands opposition questions timing of by-election

4:35 pm on 29 October 2003

The opposition Cook Islands party is continuing to question why a by-election is going ahead on Aitutaki when a decision is imminent on whether two others need to be held.

The CIP's secretary-general, Temu Okotai, says it would make more sense to wait for the declaratory judgement on seats held by Norman George and Paora Teiti.

If the judgement over allegations against double dipping on government salaries goes against them, they will lose their seats and by-elections will be held.

Mr Okotai says it would save money to hold three by-elections at once and even some members of the government agree with them.

"We wonder what's really happening in government, when the leader of the democratic party openly declares his unhappiness with the decision too, and even put forward his own suggestion that we should look at an early general election. We wonder what is the thinking going on and how the decision came about."

Mr Okotai says the declaratory judgement is expected to be known within the next couple of weeks.

The by-election on Aitutaki takes place on the 20th November.