29 Apr 2004

Cook Islands Democratic party elimination vote to go ahead

2:12 pm on 29 April 2004

An 'elimination vote' of candidates in a Cook Islands constituency in Atiu will go ahead tomorrow despite protests from the MP for Atiu, Norman George.

Mr George is the sitting MP for Atiu's Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua seat and his intention to stand as a Democratic Party candidate again in the next general election is being challenged by Eugene Tatuava.

The Party president Iaveta Short says because both sides claim to have majority support, the elimination vote is the fairest and most transparent way of deciding who will be the candidate.

But while Mr George says the party constitution spells out that as sitting MP, he has the automatic right to stand in the election, Mr Tatuava disagrees.

"No, there was a rule in the constitution but that's been abolished about two or three years ago. Any standing member of parliament can be challenged by anybody. This is the democratic right. The whole idea of elimination is to determine the rightful candidate. If we go by democratic rights, we are going to give back to the people to decide."

Eugene Tatuava