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World > Oceania > Cook Islands > Government (Facts)

Cook Islands - Government (Facts)
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
Government type: self-governing parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none
Independence: 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: Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
Constitution: 4 August 1965
Legal system: based on New Zealand law and English common law
Suffrage: NA years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner John BRYAN (since 6 September 2005), 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: none; 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: bicameral Parliament consisting of a Legislative Assembly (or lower house) (25 seats, 24 seats representing districts of the Cook Islands, 1 seat representing Cook Islanders living overseas; members elected by popular vote to serve five-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: High Court
Political parties and leaders: Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, AsDB, FAO, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Flag description: 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


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - New Zealand Dollar Exchange Rates



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