25 Jul 2006

Caretaker government possible in Cook Islands until end of September

7:11 pm on 25 July 2006

The Cook Island's Prime Minister, Jim Marurai, has been assuring the people that the country will continue to be governed as normal after parliament was dissolved this morning.

The Queen's Representative, Sir Frederick Goodwin, took the Prime Minister's advice and called new general elections after the opposition won last week's by-election.

Philippa Tolley has more:

"The parliamentary session was expected to be eventful following the by-election nudging the balance of power away from the government. Sir Frederick said in an address to the nation broadcast on local radio that he had grave doubts as to the likelihood of a stable adminstration emerging from the present government. The leader of the opposition Cook Islands Party, Sir Geoffrey Henry, questions whether going to the polls will result in greater political stability as elections two years ago failed to produce a majority government. A spokesman for the Prime Minister says under the constitution, a caretaker government can run the country without a budget being passed for ninety days from the beginning of July. That means general elections must be held before October."