22 Jan 2005

Cook Islands Democratic Party candidate clarifies stance

8:23 am on 22 January 2005

A candidate for the by-election in the Cook Islands seat of Manihiki, Apii Piho, has clarified that he is standing for the Democratic Party and not Demo Party Tumu as claimed last week.

The Cook Islands News reports Mr Piho says that nothing has changed since party president Makiuti Tongia and leader Dr Terepai Maoate lodged his nomination for candidacy.

When asked if there was any truth to an allegation by the Demo Party Tumu that he would join the government coalition once he enters parliament, Mr Piho said his main focus at the moment is to win the by-election.

Mr Piho says any decision he makes will be guided by his supporters, and what they want him to do.

He admits that while he held discussions with Rakahanga's member of parliament and Demo Tumu party member Piho Rua, there was nothing concrete or agreed during their discussions.

In a statement last week Mr Rua alleged that Dr Maoate had blackmailed Piho into being their candidate after they had earlier settled on Tepure Tapaitau.