13 Nov 2002

Coalition shaky in Cook Islands says lone opposition MP

11:41 am on 13 November 2002

Negotiations are continuing in the Cook Islands between the lone opposition MP, Norman George and the leader of the Democratic Party, Dr Terepai Maoate.

Dr Maoate has said he's not fully committed to the current coalition government which he signed up to in principle at the end of last week.

That's because he hasn't been given two cabinet posts.

Mr George would not give details about what the negotiations entail but he says the coalition is shaky

"I believe that their days are numbered. If I am to enter into a new coalition arrangement, it's on the basis that we are going to the people soon. It's difficult for me to give you a time but certainly I would say at least a year short of the full term of parliament."

24 out of 25 MPs are currently in the coalition government.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Ponga of the Group for Political Change, says the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, is still refusing to set a date for early elections.

She says Dr Woonton eventually met the group outside parliament yesterday but felt the need to have the entire police force present.

Ms Ponga says it was a peaceful rally and they will continue to press MPs for change and for an early election.

They are now aware that we are no longer just sitting idle, that there is a team of concerned citizens out there that are prepared to go the full length of whatever may come in the future and we are not going to be idle anymore. We've made our voice known and heard and we are not prepared to sit idle. That is something that they should be wary of and wake up if they haven't.