25 Jul 2003

Cooks Opposition MP's resignation could affect balance of power

4:50 pm on 25 July 2003

The resignation of an opposition Cook Islands MP, Teina Bishop, could trigger an early general election, according to his colleague Wilkie Rasmussen.

The presence in parliament of Mr Rasmussen's Cook Islands Party has been reduced by one after Mr Bishop resigned in protest against the poor budget allocation for his constituency, Aitutaki.

But Mr Rasmussen says this could mean four by-elections which could affect the balance of power in the Cook Islands.

"It triggers off a number of things because there is a pending decision to be made by the Attorney General on whether Norman George and Paora Teiti are still members of Parliament or are crown law servants, and if the decision is consistent with a previous decision then those two should lose their seats, so you are looking at about four by-elections to be held -that means that the Government is under pressure to call a general election early"

Opposition MP Wilkie Rasmussen.

(A by-election is to be held August 14th in the constituency of Rua'au following the death last month of MP Maria Heather.)