30 Nov 2004

Cook Islands parliament may not meet constitutional requirements

7:36 pm on 30 November 2004

There are doubts as to whether parliament in the Cook Islands will be able to satisfy constitutional requirements to meet by December 7th.

It must hold its first sitting within 90 days following the September general elections but the Appeal court is yet to deliver its ruling on several electoral petitions, including one involving the prime minister's win on Manihiki.

Former Solicitor-general, John McFadzien, says, however, that this will not cause a constitutional crisis.

"here is a second provision which says that not withstanding the 90 day rule, parliament cannot meet after the holding of a general election until all election petitions filed in the high court, have been finally determined by the high court or have been withdrawn or dismissed."

Mr McFadzien says the cases go back to the high court following the Appeal court's ruling on the point of law raised, so the country could be without a government until the new year.