REFERENDUM ON POSSIBLE CHANGES TO COOK ISLANDS POLITICAL SYSTEM

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (August 5, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A referendum on possible changes to the Cook Islands political system will be held before next year's general election.

Radio Australia correspondent Florence Syme-Buchanan reports the changes could include reducing the number of members of the national Parliament.

"While welcoming the national referendum, concerns have been expressed by the public and opposition parties whether this time around government will ensure the people are fully informed about the issues the referendum will cover.

"The government has come under increasing pressure from all sectors of the community to change the political system by reducing the 25-member Parliament.

"A three man Commission is to look at the country's political system, carry out widespread public consultation and make recommendations that are in the best interests of the Cook Islands.

"The Commission's findings will be made public before the referendum is held early next year.

"Florence Syme-Buchanan, Rarotonga."

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