17 Nov 2004

Call for review of political system in the Cook Islands

4:18 pm on 17 November 2004

The leader of the Cook Islands party, Sir Geoffrey Henry, has been sworn in as deputy prime minister in the new coalition arrangement.

And, his colleague, Tom Masters has also been sworn in as a minister under a deal reached with the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, who is leading a breakway faction of the Democratic party.

Meanwhile, there's a call for a total review of the political system because the coalition was formed prior to electoral challenges being resolved or parliament sitting.

A former independent candidate, Elizabeth Ponga, says the country is in for yet another period of instability despite voters giving a clear mandate to the Democratic party, which won 14 out of the 24 seats in the recent elections.

Ms Ponga says the split within the party and the announcement of a coalition is not what people voted for.

"It is now time for a total political review in this country because what is being shown now is that we cannot continue the way we are. If we're going to have a government of unity, as is being proposed now, lets review the situation and see if it's in the best interests for all of us, not just for a select few."

Elizabeth Ponga, a former independent candidate.