27 Aug 2005

Cook Islands party members back speaker for by-election

11:12 am on 27 August 2005

Members of the Cook Islands First party in the southern island of Atiu are backing the speaker of parliament, Norman George, in an expected upcoming by-election.

The Cook Islands News reports the party members in the

constituency of Teenui Mapumai in Atiu reached a unanimous decision.

The current member of parliament and CIF member Upoko Simpson is expected to step down next month owing to ill health.

The Democratic Party says it will field a candidate in any by-election in which Mr George is standing.

Mr George is ambitious to be elected as an MP again after losing his seat in Atiu at last year's general election.