19 Nov 2002

Cook Islands Democratic party to remain in opposition

6:11 pm on 19 November 2002

The leader of the Cook Islands Democratic party, Dr Terepai Maoate, says he is committed to remaining in the opposition after turning down an offer of a cabinet post.

There are nine MPs in opposition after eight of the Democrats left a newly-formed government coalition when two cabinet posts weren't allocated to the party.

Dr Maoate says negotiations had been continuing but they are now at an end.

"We decided it was a waste of time going through that process any more and we are now committed to being in opposition and playing our role as an opposition and getting prepared for the next general election."

Dr Maoate says he believes there's great pressure on the government to hold early general elections, perhaps in the new year.

Several citizens groups are calling for electoral reform, including a reduction in the number of MPs and a shortening in the term of parliament from 5 to 3 or 4 years.