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The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.
In political systems based on the principle of separation of powers, authority is distributed among several branches (executive, legislative, judicial)—an attempt to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a single group of people. In such a system, the executive does not pass laws (the role of the legislature) or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). Instead, the executive enforces the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. The executive can be the source of certain types of law, such as a decree or executive order. Executive bureaucracies are commonly the source of regulations.
In parliamentary systems, the executive is responsible to the elected legislature, i.e. must maintain the confidence of the legislature (or one part of it, if bicameral). The legislature can, in certain circumstances (varying by state), express its lack of confidence in the executive, which causes either a change in governing party or group of parties or a general election. Parliamentary systems have a head of government (who leads the executive, often called ministers) normally distinct from the head of state (who continues through governmental and electoral changes). In the Westminster type of parliamentary system, the principle of separation of powers is not as entrenched as in some others. Members of the executive (ministers), are also members of the legislature, and hence play an important part in both the writing and enforcing of law.
In this context, the executive consists of a leader(s) of an office or multiple offices. Specifically, the top leadership roles of the executive branch may include:
In a presidential system, the leader of the executive is both the head of state and head of government.
In a parliamentary system, a cabinet minister responsible to the legislature is the head of government, while the head of state is usually a largely ceremonial monarch or president.
A head of state is the public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government and more.
The separation of powers is a representation for the governance of a state. Under this model, a state's government is divided into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities so that powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is the trias politica model. It can be contrasted with the fusion of powers in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems, where the executive and legislative branches overlap.
The Westminster system or Westminster model is a parliamentary system—a series of procedures for operating a legislature—that was developed in England, which is now a constituent country within the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament. It is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former colonies of the British Empire upon gaining self-government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890. It is the form of government bequeathed to New Zealand, and to British Hong Kong. However, some former colonies have since adopted either the presidential system or a hybrid system as their form of government.
The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. "Head of government" is often differentiated from "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.
The Government of Colombia is a republic with separation of powers into executive, judicial and legislative branches. Its legislature has a congress, its judiciary has a supreme court, and its executive branch has a president.
A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.
A presidential system is a democratic and republican government in which a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state, which is called president.
Separation of powers is a political doctrine originating in the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws, in which he argued for a constitutional government with three separate branches, each of which would have defined abilities to check the powers of the others. This philosophy heavily influenced the writing of the United States Constitution, according to which the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States government are kept distinct in order to prevent abuse of power. This United States form of separation of powers is associated with a system of checks and balances.
The Australian Government is the federal government of Australia, a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The Government is also commonly referred to as simply the Federal Government, and previously, the Commonwealth Government. Like many other Westminster-style systems of government, the Australian Government is made up of three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.
Politics of Montenegro takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Montenegro is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Montenegro. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Montenegro a "hybrid regime" in 2019.
Fusion of powers is a feature of some parliamentary forms of government, especially those following the Westminster system, where the executive and legislative branches of government are intermingled. It is contrasted with the European separation of powers found in presidential and semi-presidential forms of government where the legislative and executive powers are in origin separated by popular vote. Fusion of powers exists in many, if not a majority of, parliamentary democracies, and does so by design. However, in all modern democratic polities the judicial branch of government is independent of the legislative and executive branches.
The Constitution of Armenia was adopted by a nationwide Armenian referendum on July 5, 1995. This constitution established Armenia as a democratic, sovereign, social, and constitutional state. Yerevan is defined as the state's capital. Power is vested in its citizens, who exercise it directly through the election of government representatives. Decisions related to changes in constitutional status or to an alteration of borders are subject to a vote of the citizens of Armenia exercised in a referendum. There are 117 articles in the 1995 constitution. On November 27, 2005, a nationwide constitutional referendum was held and an amended constitution was adopted. The constitution was amended again in a national referendum on December 6, 2015 that changed the political structure from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary republic.
The Government of Malaysia officially the Federal Government of Malaysia is based in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya with the exception of the legislative branch, which is based in the national capital of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a federation of 13 states operating within a constitutional monarchy under the Westminster parliamentary system and is categorised as a representative democracy. The federal government of Malaysia adheres to and is created by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the supreme law of the land.
The government of the U.S. state of Kansas, established by the Kansas Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal Government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Through a system of separation of powers, or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, and also some authority to regulate the other two branches, so that all three branches can limit and balance the others' authority.
The politics of Denmark take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state in which the monarch of Denmark, Queen Margrethe II, is the head of state. Denmark is described as a nation state. Danish politics and governance are characterized by a common striving for broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole.
A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.
The conception of the separation of powers has been applied to the United Kingdom and the nature of its executive, judicial and legislative functions. Historically, the apparent merger of the executive and the legislature, with a powerful Prime Minister drawn from the largest party in parliament and usually with a safe majority, led theorists to contend that the separation of powers is not applicable to the United Kingdom. However, in recent years it does seem to have been adopted as a necessary part of the UK constitution.
Separation of powers in Singapore is founded on the concept of constitutionalism, which is itself primarily based upon distrust of power and thus the desirability of limited government. To achieve this, the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore splits the power to govern the country between three branches of government – the legislature, which makes laws; the executive, which executes them; and the judiciary, which enforces them. Each branch, while wielding legitimate power and being protected from external influences, is subjected to a system of checks and balances by the other branches to prevent abuse of power. This Westminster constitutional model was inherited from the British during Singapore's colonial years.