19 Nov 2004

Cook Islands independent MP to wait for court decisions before confirming position

4:48 pm on 19 November 2004

An independent Cook Islands MP Piho Rua says he will wait for court decisions on electoral petitions before deciding on which party to support in parliament.

The sole independent MP is regarded as a possible member of the new coalition arrangement reached between the Prime Minister, Robert Woonton, and the former opposition, led by Sir Geoffrey Henry.

Dr Woonton is leading a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party, while the party's leader Terepai Maoate has questioned the validity of the coalition's claims to be a government.

The Prime Minister may need Mr Rua's support if he is to have a majority in the 24-seat house.

But Mr Rua is yet to decide his position and says nothing can be certain until the results of the three electoral petitions and their effect on numbers in parliament are known.

"That probably will be causing a lot of barriers and hurdles before any legitimate government can be put in place. The number issue is still undecided and before my position can be confirmed I'd rather wait for that decision, then I'll know exactly which party has got the majority."

Piho Rua