9 Aug 2005

New government in Cook Islands after dumping of deputy prime minister

3:43 pm on 9 August 2005

There is a new government of national unity in the Cook Islands after the deputy prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry, was dumped.

Appointed to the position is Dr Terepai Maoate, who heads the Democratic Party which was previously in opposition.

The government is now made up of the three members of the Cook Islands First Party, headed by the prime minister, Jim Marurai, the nine MPs of the Democratic Party, and three ministers from Sir Geoffrey's Cook Islands Party.

Dr Maoate says all portfolios apart from Sir Geoffrey's remain intact at this point but he says he's uncertain whether a government of national unity will work.

"My preference is for Jimmy Marurai and his colleagues, who broke away from us, and the Democratic Party members to form the government. But, the choice at the moment, by the prime minister, is to have this government of national unity."

Dr Terepai Maoate, the new deputy prime minister.

Members of the Cook Islands Party, who are at their annual party conference, were unable to be contacted for comment and it's not yet known if all CIP MPs support the dumping of Sir Geoffrey or the new government.