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Transition talks with constituencies

Tuesday 15 September 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Politics

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Transition talks with constituencies
Prime Minister Henry Puna with his incoming successor, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown in June. 20061610

Prime Minister Henry Puna is set to hand over the reins of the country’s leadership to Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown at the end of this month.

The Cook Islands Party will meet with their constituencies on Rarotonga at the end of this week to discuss the transition of Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown stepping up as the leader of the country.

They will also hold phone conferences with the Pa Enua constituencies in the near future.

Cook Islands Party vice president Rohan Ellis said discussions would be about the “leadership steps” for the event at the end of the month when Prime Minister Henry Puna steps down to make way for his deputy Mark Brown to take on the top role.

Puna had announced his intentions and the transition plan in June.

He is one of five contenders for the position of Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. If unsuccessful in the regional post, Puna will become a back bencher in Cook Islands Party-led coalition government to see out the rest of his term.

PM Puna earlier said he had every confidence that he was leaving the country in good hands.

“It’s team work, that is the basis of government, nothing else, I have been very blessed that I have people that have believed in that too,” he said in June.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown said conversations about the transition had been taking place for the past couple of years.

“That takes a lot of character, to take that step at the height of your career, it shows the foresight that he had, that one can overstay too long, it is best to do so while you are in a good position rather than being forced,” Brown said earlier.

It is the first time in the nation’s history, that a Cook Islands Prime Minister has made the unprecedented move to step down from his role two years before his term ends.

At this stage, who will take on the position as the new Deputy Prime Minister has yet to be confirmed.