16 Sep 2004

Cook Islands awaits Prime Minister after election

9:32 am on 16 September 2004

A question mark hangs over the Cook Islands Prime Ministership after the general election.

Whilst the ruling Democratic Party has the majority in the 24-seat house, it's not clear whether the party leader Terepai Maoate or the incumbent, Dr Robert Woonton, also in the party, will emerge as Prime Minister.

Dr Maoate says at the moment the Democratic party is focussing on securing a majority in parliament, but has indicated his desire to lead.

However, Dr Woonton, who regained his seat by only four votes, has said the caucus will decide who should be prime minister.

Then once parliament is convened at the end of the month, once final votes are counted, MPs cast a vote for the Prime Ministership.

The Democratic Party had 14 seats, the Cook Islands Party, led by Sir Geoffrey Henry, has nine seats, and Rakahanga's Piho Rua is the sole independent.