DEMOCRACY IN THE ISLANDS
Rarotonga is the seat of the Islands' legislative Government. Parliament is based on the UK model and, similar to it, has two Houses. The lower house or Legislative Assembly has 25 elected members - 24 from districts of the Cook Islands and one representing the many Cook Islanders who live overseas. The Members of Parliament represent districts and islands. Ten are from the capital island. The upper house, or House of Ariki, is made up of traditional leaders, who provide consultation and advice. Her Majesty the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II) is Head of State. The Queen's Representative, Tom Marsters, acts in her name in the Islands.