The president of the Cook Islands Democratic Party says the decision by the former Prime Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, to go independent doesn't detract from his political contribution.
Sir Terepai, who's been a stalwart party member said at a meeting last night his constituents asked him not to give up and so he accepted their request to run as an independent.
Sir Terepai's almost three decades as the party's representative for the Ngatangiia electorate ended recently after a run-off won by Mann Short, a political newcomer.
The party president, Sean Willis, says it has to accept Sir Terepai's decision.
"That's politics and we need to move on. It does not take away from the fact that Sir Terepai has contributed a lot to the country and to the Democratic Party, nothing can take that away from him. But if his supporters decided that they'd like him to stand as an independent, then that's basically his choice, it's his democratic right."
The president of the Cook Islands Democratic Party, Sean Willis.