10 May 2004

Terepai Maoate hangs on to leadership of Cook Islands' ruling party

10:55 am on 10 May 2004

Members of the Cook Islands' ruling party have voted to keep their leader.

Doctor Terepai Maoate only just managed to stave off a challenge from his successor as prime minister, Doctor Robert Woonton.

The ballot was split 26-24 in favour of Doctor Maoate.

It means that the Democrats, although being the ruling party, are led by a backbench MP.

Doctor Maoate said, after being re-elected, that Doctor Woonton could stay on as Prime Minister if he wanted to, as he'd been appointed by parliament and chosen by the party caucus.