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Cook Islands: Government

Government Cook Islands
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:
Avarua
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 NA); New Zealand High Commissioner Kurt MEYER (since NA), representative of New Zealand
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
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Robert WOONTON (since 12 February 2002); Deputy Prime Minister Ngamau MUNOKOA (since 5 November 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (25 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 16 June 1999 (next to be held by NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CIP 12, DAP 12, NAP 1
note: the House of Ariki (chiefs) advises on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence, but has no legislative powers
Judicial branch:
High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Cook Islands People's Party or CIP [Geoffrey HENRY]; Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Terepai MAOATE]; New Alliance Party or NAP [Norman GEORGE]; Cook Islands National Party or CIN [Teariki HEATHER]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
ACP, AsDB, ESCAP (associate), FAO, ICAO, ICFTU, IFAD, IFRCS (associate), IOC, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UNESCO, 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

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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