29 Dec 2009

Call for new elections in the Cook Islands after latest political turmoil

2:42 pm on 29 December 2009

The political upheaval in the Cook Islands over the Christmas period has lead the opposition Cook Islands Party to call for new elections.

In the run up to Christmas the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the majority holding Democratic Party, Sir Terepai Maoate, was sacked as both Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance.

Three other Cabinet Ministers, Ngamau Munokoa, Tangata Vavia and Kete Ioane have also resigned their positions in support of Sir Terepai.

The Democratic Party has in return sacked Prime Minister, Jim Marurai, from the party.

The General Secretary of the Cook Island Party, Temu Okotai, says the divisions in the ruling party mean the people no longer have confidence in the government:

"The government is in disarray and there are very major issues and concerns by the community over the performance of government and both these mean that government should seek a mandate from the community before things can be forged ahead so Cook Islands Party is interested in an early election."

Temu Okotai says the next elections are due at the end of 2010.