21 Nov 2003

Change of leadership for Cook Islands Democratic Party

5:07 pm on 21 November 2003

The president of the Cook Islands Democratic Party, Iaveta Short, says following its leadership change, the party should go into next year's election as a united party.

Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton was elected as party leader of the Democratic Party, following a special meeting of the caucus yesterday.

He replaces Dr Terepai Maoate who resigned just weeks ago as deputy prime minister after failing to mount a no-confidence vote against Dr Woonton's government.

Mr Short says although the past year has seen divisions in the party leadership, the caucus itself remained united.

"We're going towards the end of this term of parliament and the real issue of leadership and other major issues for the party will be determined at the next conference of the party. And from our point of view the most important thing is for the party to remain united and go into the next election as a united party."

Democratic Party president Iaveta Short.

The new deputy prime minister Mau Munukoa has also been confirmed as the party's deputy parliamentary leader.

She replaces former Minister of Police Tangata Vavia who resigned at the same time as Dr Maoate.