30 Apr 2004

Democratic Party elimination vote to go ahead in Cook Islands

10:57 am on 30 April 2004

An 'elimination vote' of candidates in a Cook Islands constituency in Atiu will go ahead today despite protests from the current MP.

Norman 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'll be the candidate.

But Mr George says he, himself, wrote the party's constitution and the elimination vote applies only to seats where there's no sitting Democratic Party member of parliament, meaning in this case there's no vacancy.

"Sitting members are not to be challenged... that matter's going to be raised at the party conference, next week. I'm disappointed with the president of the party, because he's shown that he's not impartial, but I'm confident as always, and I know that these people are making a fool of themselves, and I'm just calmly going on with my life, and expect to face the g eneral elections again ."