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Tokelau Government Profile 2018

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Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau
etymology: "tokelau" is a Polynesian word meaning "north wind"
Dependency statusself-administering territory of New Zealand; note - Tokelau and New Zealand have agreed to a draft constitution as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand; a UN-sponsored referendum on self governance in October 2007 did not produce the two-thirds majority vote necessary for changing the political status
Government typeparliamentary democratic dependency (General Fono); a territory of New Zealand
Capitalnone; each atoll has its own administrative center
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisionsnone (territory of New Zealand)
Independencenone (territory of New Zealand)
National holidayWaitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
Constitutionmany previous; latest effective 1 January 1949 (Tokelau Islands Act 1948); amended many times, last in 2007 (2016)
Legal systemcommon law system of New Zealand
Citizenshipsee New Zealand
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of New Zealand Governor General Dame Patricia Lee REDDY (since 28 September 2016); New Zealand is represented by Administrator David NICHOLSON (since November 2016)
head of government: Afega GAULOFA (since 10 March 2016); note - position rotates annually among the 3 Faipule (village leaders)
cabinet: Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau (or Tokelau Council) functions as a cabinet; consists of 3 Faipule (village leaders) and 3 Pulenuku (village mayors)
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand; head of government chosen from the Council of Faipule to serve a 1-year term
note: the meeting place of the Tokelau Council rotates annually among the three atolls; this tradition has given rise to the somewhat misleading description that the capital rotates yearly between the three atolls; in actuality, it is the seat of the government councillors that rotates since Tokelau has no capital
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral General Fono (20 seats apportioned by island - Atafu 7, Fakaofo 7, Nukunonu 6; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 3-year terms); note - the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers limited legislative power to the General Fono
elections: last held on 23, 27, and 31 January 2017 depending on island (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - independent 20
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Appeal in New Zealand (consists of the court president and 8 judges sitting in 3- or 5-judge panels depending on the case)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Judicial Selection Committee and approved by three-quarters majority of the Parliament; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: High Court, in New Zealand; Council of Elders or Taupulega
Political parties and leadersnone
Political pressure groups and leadersnone
International organization participationPIF (associate member), SPC, UNESCO (associate), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the USnone (territory of New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the USnone (territory of New Zealand)
Flag descriptiona yellow stylized Tokelauan canoe on a dark blue field sails toward the manu - the Southern Cross constellation of four, white, five-pointed stars at the hoist side; the Southern Cross represents the role of Christianity in Tokelauan culture and, in conjunction with the canoe, symbolizes the country navigating into the future; the color yellow indicates happiness and peace, and the blue field represents the ocean on which the community relies
National symbol(s)tuluma (fishing tackle box); national colors: blue, yellow, white
National anthemname: "Te Atua" (For the Almighty)
lyrics/music: unknown/Falani KALOLO
note: adopted 2008; in preparation for eventual self governance, Tokelau held a national contest to choose an anthem; as a territory of New Zealand, "God Defend New Zealand" and "God Save the Queen" are official (see New Zealand)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018