COOK ISLANDS PM MAOATE AND DEPUTY PM WOONTON SURVIVE ANGRY DEBATE

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AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (February 9, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Robert Woonton returned to the Democratic/Alliance coalition government Friday just hours after announcing his resignation in Parliament.

Prime Minister Dr. Terepai Maoate refused to accept Dr. Woonton's resignation, which came in a fiery speech that ended in a vote of no confidence in Dr. Maoate, which the Prime Minister survived.

Dr. Woonton accused Dr. Maoate of cruel and harsh dictatorial behavior over the dismissal of two ministers who were not given the option to resign and become eligible for a pay out of three month's salary.

Dr. Maoate, who survived the no-confidence motion by 14 votes to seven, said his deputy was entitled to express his feelings, and he would look into his grievances.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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