HENRY PUNA NEW PRIME MINISTER IN COOK ISLANDS

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Puna led Cook Islands Party to a majority of 16 seats

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Nov. 30, 2010) - The leader of the Cook Islands Party, Henry Puna, has been sworn in this morning as the new Cook Islands prime minister by the Queen’s representative, Sir Frederick Goodwin.

Mr. Puna has not disclosed who will be his deputy or which Cook Islands Party Members of Parliament will be in his Cabinet. He is expected to make that official announcement later today or tomorrow. The Cook Islands Party takes over as the new government this week after winning a two-thirds majority against the Democratic Party in the recent general elections. The Democratic Party has not lodged any electoral petitions -- making a smooth transition for the new Cook Islands Party government.

[PIR editor’s note: The final count gave the Cook Islands Party an extra seat which had been tied after the preliminary result. With the extra seat, the party received 16 seats total leaving the Democratic party with only 8 seats. The two-thirds majority gives the Cook Islands Party the power to make amendments to the constitution.]

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