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Mystery surrounds Bishop's majority

Monday October 13, 2014 Written by Published in Politics

An air of mystery continues to surround a folder displayed last week in Parliament that claims to include the names and signatures of 12 Members of Parliament from three parties, sufficient to form a majority.

During last Wednesday’s inaugural sitting of Parliament – the first since last July’s general elections – One Cook Islands Leader Teina Bishop presented the folder, saying he could potentially prove that he commanded a majority of the currently elected 23 MP’s.
Despite his claims, a controversial vote of confidence held later in sitting was won by Prime Minister Henry Puna, who had all 12 CIP MP’s stand in support of his role as the nation’s leader.
In a letter to the editor yesterday, Democratic Party Leader Wilkie Rasmussen claimed the confidence vote succeeded because  several CIP MP’s “... had cold feet”.
Trevor Pitt, Prime Minister Henry Puna’s advisor, said the nation’s leader has since been given the name of a Cook Islands Party MP said to be on the list, but has yet to see the actual document – leading to further uncertainty regarding the current political situation.
“For all we know, it could be one of those cases where if you say something enough times it becomes true,” said Pitt.
A number of sources have floated the names of Aitutaki MP’s Toa Isamaela and Mona Ioane, Atiu MP Rose Toki Brown, and Mauke MP Tai Tura as having been approached by One Cook Islands leader Teina Bishop and possibly on the list.
None of those names have been confirmed.
Although admitting to meeting with CIP MPs before and after July’s election, Bishop would not divulge information on the document when reached for comment yesterday.
“No comment ... that is history,” he said, when pressed to reveal names included on the list he brought into Parliament last week.
“I’m looking towards the future to deal with the by-election in Mitiaro,” he said, adding he was set to leave yesterday to the outer island – which will soon be subject to a by-election next month.
Also yesterday, Rasmussen released a statement on behalf of the Demos that re-iterated the Party’s plans to work with One Cook Islands on forming a coalition in Parliament, should the party be unable to secure a majority on its own.
A request for an interview on the matter with PM Puna has been lodged with the Office of the Prime Minister.

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