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Politics of the Cook Islands

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands

Data code: CW

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, 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, 4 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 Apenera SHORT (since NA); New Zealand High Commissioner Jon JONESSEN (since NA January 1998), representative of New Zealand
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Terepai MAOATE (since 18 November 1999); Deputy Prime Minister Norman GEORGE (since NA)
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 party that wins the most seats usually becomes prime minister
note: ten years of rule by the Cook Islands Party (CIP) came to an end 18 November 1999 with the resignation of Prime Minister Joe WILLIAMS; WILLIAMS had led a minority government since October 1999 when the New Alliance Party (NAP) left the government coalition and joined the main opposition Democratic Alliance Party (DAP); on 18 November 1999, DAP leader Dr. Terepai MAOATE was sworn in as prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (25 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held NA 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 Arikis (chiefs) advises on traditional matters, but has no legislative powers

Judicial branch: High Court

Political parties and leaders: Cook Islands Party or CIP [Joe WILLIAMS]; Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Terepai MAOATE]; New Alliance Party or NAP [leader NA]

International organization participation: AsDB, ESCAP (associate), FAO, ICAO, ICFTU, IFAD, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), 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

See also : Cook Islands



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