30 Jul 2009

Cooks Foreign Minister sacked for plotting against PM

1:42 pm on 30 July 2009

The Cook Islands Prime Minister Jim Marurai has sacked the Foreign Affairs Minister Wilkie Rasmussen for conspiring to overthrow him.

The Prime Minister's office says Mr Rasmussen has been displaying disloyalty by trying to force the Mr Marurai to step down, negotiating with opposition members and lobbying for disgruntled caucus members to form a new government.

The Editor for the Cook Islands Herald Charles Pitt describes the buildup to the sacking.

"The Prime Minister had learnt that the week before the Minister had held discussions with members of the opposition about his dissatisfaction with the way the government was handling a number of issues, one of them the budget and there had been a late night meeting at the home of one of the opposition members, and that was attended by the leader of the opposition and others, and there was a plan to proceed with a motion of no confidence once Parliament resumed the following Tuesday. But the Prime Minister was tipped off about that and as a result of that tip-off he decided to terminate the minister's portfolios."

Charles Pitt says Mr Rasmussen is expected to remain in politics as a backbench politician.