Cook Islands Democratic Party Chooses New Leader

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Conference endorses coalition with One Cook Islands Party

By Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 16, 2015) – Newly-elected Democratic Party leader William (Smiley) Heather says the party’s conference this week provided overwhelming endorsement for the party’s continued coalition with the One Cook Islands Party.

In a press release issued yesterday, Heather described the coalition as ‘a bold move and one that will bear fruits’.

"We will be talking more with One Cook Islands in the coming weeks."

In his first announcement as leader of the party, Heather also thanked his colleague and Murienua Member of Parliament James Beer, who was also in the running for the leadership position.

While Heather won by a wide margin at the meeting held on Tuesday, he says he is open to ideas from his team.

"I congratulate my opponent James Beer for taking part and assure him that, the Party supports many of his ideas for political reform and economic systems," he said.

"James will be an integral member of our team."

"My friend Norman George also offered his services."

Heather also paid homage to former party leader Wilkie Rasmussen who last week resigned from the position.

"I particularly congratulate and thank our former leader, Wilkie Rasmussen for his many years of devoted and selfless services to the Democratic Party and to the Cook Islands while in Parliament."

The Demo party conference was also an opportunity to elect office bearers, with Sean Willis re-elected as president, supported by three vice-presidents former Queen’s Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin, Tupou Faireka and George Hosking.

Eddie Drollet remains as secretary general and Pilt Napa is treasurer.

"The election cycle is now over, but that does not mean the Cook Islands Party can simply carry on with business as usual," said Heather.

"We have serious tasks ahead of us in all areas of government and the Democratic Party in parliament will vigorously take part in the process."

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