The government of the Cook Islands operates as a constitutional monarchy. It is classified as a representative democracy which includes a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with the nearby nation of New Zealand. Although it is self-governing the Cook Islands partially relies on the government of New Zealand for matters of defense and external affairs. Its official head of state is the reigning British monarch while the Islands head of the government is the Prime Minister. Legislative power rests with both the government as well as the Parliament of the Cook Island. The twenty four member Parliament was established in 1965.

Residents living in the Cook Islands elect members of the legislature. These twenty four representatives serve terms of four years. Elections involve two major political parties; the Cook Islands Party and the Democratic Party. In 2014, however, the One Cook Islands Movement ran four candidates. Originally referred to as Premier, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, is the leader of the party with the most political support and is officially appointed by the Queen’s Representative.

The Parliament Building of the Cook Islands is located on the island of Rarotonga which is the most populated island in the region. According to 2011 statistics from approximately 10,572 live on the island which is also a very popular tourist destination. The building utilized to conduct government business is a former hotel. Due to the fact that throughout its history the Cook Islands has never had an official residence for its Prime Minister discussions began in 2005 in the hopes of establishing one. The Queen’s Representative resides in Government House.

The Cook Islands has a two-party system. Its active parties are the Cook Islands Party, the Democratic Party, and the One Cook Islands Movement.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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