The Cook Islands opposition leader says the call to dissolve parliament and hold early elections is like a coup within the government ranks.
Wilkie Rasmussen says the Prime Minister Henry Puna has lost the support of his caucus members.
He says two government MPs were not in the house on Tuesday local time and he believes once the Prime Minister realised he had lost the confidence of his team, he went to the Queen's Representative to call for the dissolution.
"You can say it's a coup within his own party to dislodge the Prime Minister. That coup was finding its way to parliament but the Prime Minister acted before it could get to parliament. And I think he simply failed to read the concern of members in his party."
Wilkie Rasmussen says he's not surprised by the call for early elections and believes the government has departed from its promises and been insensitive towards the public.