8 Dec 2004

Cook Islands party says coalition deal strong despite court case

2:10 pm on 8 December 2004

The president of the Cook Islands party, Henry Puna, says the outcome of his electoral petition against the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, will not alter the coalition deal.

The two opposed each other in their electorate and are now facing off in court after Dr Woonton won the Manihiki electorate by just four votes.

But, their parties have formed a caretaker coalition administration which Mr Puna says will remain in place, no matter what happens with the legal challenge.

The High court resumes its hearing tomorrow into two final petitions, both for Manihiki, and for Titikaveka.

Mr Puna says the coalition deal will remain strong.

"It was one of the bases, one of the principles of the coalition, that whatever the outcome, it would not affect the coalition in any way, shape or form. And, that is still our position and I know that it is still the view of our coalition partner, including the prime minister."

The president of the Cook Islands Party, Henry Puna, says they can count on the support of 14 MPs out of the 24, whatever the outcome of the court case.