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Cook Islands Government Profile 2006

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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 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 lower house or Legislative Assembly with 25 seats (24 seats representing districts of the Cook Islands and one seat representing Cook Islanders living overseas; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and an upper house or House of Ariki made up of traditional leaders
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 7, independent 1; note - one seat tied, resolution pending by-election
note: the House of Ariki advises on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence, but has no legislative powers

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, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IOC, 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


Source: CIA World Factbook
Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of May 15, 2007


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