Cook Islands



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Cook Islands Government 2008


Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Cook Islands former: Harvey Islands
Dependency status: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: Reform Conference (lobby for political system changes) other: various groups lobbying for political change
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMSO, 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

NOTE: The government information regarding Cook Islands on this page is re-published from the 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cook Islands Government 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cook Islands Government 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.