14 Dec 2004

Negotiations continue in Cook Islands to gain numbers to form government

2:34 pm on 14 December 2004

Negotiations are continuing in the Cook Islands as to which parties will form the next government.

The president of the Cook Islands party, or the CIP - Henry Puna, says he's fairly confident that their existing coalition deal with the minority Demo Tumu party will hold and they will return to power tomorrow.

Yesterday, the Democratic party leader said they were also holding discussions with the Demo Tumu party.

But, Mr Puna says he believes the CIP and the Demo Tumu, with thirteen seats out of 24, will have the numbers to elect a new prime minister, likely to be leader Sir Geoffrey Henry, and the speaker.

"The procedure is that they will have to elect the new speaker of parliament so that he in turn can conduct the election of the new prime minister. Our understanding, and our agreement with our coalition partner, is that Mr Norman George will be the new speaker of parliament."

The Democratic party is nominating Mauke MP, Mapu Tai, as their candidate for speaker.