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Cook Islands:
Government

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Cook Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Cook Islands:
Geography, People, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Country name
Definition
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
Dependency status
Definition
self-governing in free association with New Zealand; Cook Islands is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense, in consultation with the Cook Islands
Government type
Definition
self-governing parliamentary democracy
Capital
Definition
name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
Definition
none
Independence
Definition
none (became self-governing in free association with New Zealand on 4 August 1965 and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action)
National holiday
Definition
Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
Constitution
Definition
4 August 1965
Legal system
Definition
based on New Zealand law and English common law
Suffrage
Definition
NA years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch
Definition
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner Brian DONNELLY (since 21 February 2008), representative of New Zealand
head of government: Prime Minister Jim MARURAI (since 14 December 2004); Deputy Prime Minister Terepai MAOATE (since 9 August 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the UK representative is appointed by the monarch; the New Zealand high commissioner is appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
Legislative branch
Definition
bicameral Parliament consisting of a Legislative Assembly (or lower house) (24 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and a House of Ariki (or upper house) made up of traditional leaders
note: the House of Ariki advises on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence but has no legislative powers
elections: last held 26 September 2006 (next to be held by 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Demo 51.9%, CIP 45.5%, independent 2.7%; seats by party - Demo 15, CIP 8, independent 1
Judicial branch
Definition
High Court
Political parties and leaders
Definition
Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Definition
Reform Conference (lobby for poltical system changes)
other: various groups lobbying for political change
International organization participation
Definition
ACP, ADB, FAO, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Definition
none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US
Definition
none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Flag description
Definition
blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large circle of 15 white five-pointed stars (one for every island) centered in the outer half of the flag


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