14 Dec 2004

Cook Islands Party open to discussions with the Democratic Party

9:12 pm on 14 December 2004

The Cook Islands party, or the CIP, is not ruling out discussions with the Democratic party over the formation of the next government.

The CIP president, Henry Puna, says they're willing to talk to them despite being in an existing coalition deal with the Demo Tumu party, a breakaway faction of the Democratic party.

Mr Puna says he believes the coalition, which has a combined 13 MPs out of the 24, will hold when parliament meets tomorrow to elect a new prime minister and form the next government.

But, he says a day is a long time in Cook Islands politics and a lot can happen.

"We're open to discussion with anybody, including Dr Maoate, if the approach is made to the Cook Islands Party. But, we need to be upfront about it because we have an arrangement with our current coalition partners. So, I can assure you it will not be a clandestine meeting."

Mr Puna says he's also confident that the coalition's nomination for speaker, Norman George, will be elected.