A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister who does not head a particular ministry. The sinecure is particularly common in countries ruled by coalition governments and a cabinet with decision-making authority wherein a minister without portfolio, while they may not head any particular office or ministry, may still receive a ministerial salary and has the right to cast a vote in cabinet decisions. In some countries where the executive branch is not composed of a coalition of parties and, more often, in countries with purely presidential systems of government, such as the United States, the position of minister without portfolio (or an equivalent position) is uncommon.[ citation needed ]
Willie Kelly was given the title in the Cook Ministry from June 1913 to September 1914.
Stanley Bruce was given the title of minister without portfolio when he took up his position in 1932 as the Commonwealth Minister in London. He was given the title by Lyons' Cabinet so that he could better represent the PM and his colleagues free from the limitations of a portfolio. In this case the title was a promotion and carried considerable responsibilities.
Bangladesh appoints ministers without portfolio during cabinet reshuffles or fresh appointments. Ministers are not usually appointed without portfolio as a coalition negotiation – all long run ministers end up with a portfolio. Suranjit Sengupta was a minister without portfolio in Sheikh Hasina's second government.
While the minister without portfolio is seen by some as a mere sinecure appointment, it has been a role that numerous political notables have played over time, including former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who filled the role in a Pearson cabinet in the 1960s; John Turner also "kept a seat warm" in a Pearson cabinet. Notable Conservatives who filled the role include R. B. Bennett, and Arthur Meighen; however, Meighen served this role after he had been prime minister.
The title of minister without portfolio has been used off and on; in recent times, though, the title has fallen out of favour, and the penultimate minister without portfolio, Gilles Lamontagne, was promoted to postmaster general in 1978. The practice has continued primarily under the guise of ministers of state without responsibilities in the ministers' titles.
The position has also been filled on the federal or provincial level by experienced politicians near the end of their careers as a way of allowing them to counsel the government and take on projects without the burdens associated with administering a government department.
In January 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Jim Carr as a minister without portfolio, in addition to his role as special representative to the Prairies. Carr served as a cabinet minister until November 2019, leaving as a consequence of his diagnosis with multiple myeloma.
Deputy Prime Ministers without portfolio
Three "control ministers" served as ministers without portfolio during World War I.
After the Liberation of Denmark in May 1945, the first Danish cabinet included four ministers without portfolio. Among these were Danish ambassador to the U.S. Henrik Kauffmann, who had conducted his own foreign policy throughout the war and refused to follow orders from Copenhagen as long as Denmark remained occupied by a foreign power. Kauffmann served in this capacity from 12 May to 7 November 1945. The three other holders of this title had joined the cabinet a few days before – Aksel Larsen (Communist Party of Denmark), Kr. Juul Christensen (Danish Unity) and Frode Jakobsen (Social Democrats).
Lise Østergaard held a position as minister without portfolio with special attention to foreign policy issues in Anker Jørgensen's cabinet from 26 February 1977 to 28 February 1980.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen appointed Bertel Haarder to Minister without Portfolio, but effectively Minister for European Affairs. Haarder served in this capacity from 27 November 2001 to 18 February 2005. The reason for appointing a minister without a ministry was the Danish European Union Presidency of 2002. Haarder was considered the most experienced Danish politician on European affairs.
Since 1949, a Federal Minister for Special Affairs (Bundesminister für besondere Aufgaben) is a member of the Federal Government that does not have charge of a Federal Ministry, although some have simultaneously been Chief of the Federal Chancellor's Office.
Since the inception of the state, Indonesia had ministers without portfolio, usually given the title Menteri Negara ('State Minister'). The number was not fixed, entirely depended on the behest of the President. Below is the list of Ministers without Portfolio in each Cabinet.
The cabinet was unique, with President Suharto moved the Minister of Information Harmoko to the office of State Minister of Special Affairs (Indonesian : Menteri Negara Urusan Khusus) on 6 June 1997. The Ministry of Special Affairs was dissolved on 1 October 1997, following the inauguration of next-term's parliament and the appointment of Harmoko as its speaker.
The Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1939 allows a Minister to be a member of the Government of Ireland who does not have charge of a Department of State, such a person to be known as a "Minister without portfolio".Such a minister may be given a specific style or title. The only substantive minister without portfolio has been Frank Aiken, the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures during World War II. By the Emergency Powers Act 1939 then in force, the Minister for Defence was able to delegate some competences to him.
On a number of occasions a minister has been appointed to an incoming government with the title of a new Department of State. Between the date of appointment and the date of creation of the department, such a minister is formally a minister without portfolio.
|Title||Govt||Minister||Appt to govt||Dept created||Dept|
|Minister for Economic Planning and Development||15th||Martin O'Donoghue||8 July 1977||13 December 1977||Department of Economic Planning and Development|
|Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform||29th||Brendan Howlin||9 March 2011||6 July 2011||Department of Public Expenditure and Reform|
|Minister for Rural and Community Development||31st||Michael Ring||14 June 2017||19 July 2017||Department of Rural and Community Development|
|Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science||32nd||Simon Harris||27 June 2020||2 August 2020||Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science|
Helen McEntee was appointed as a minister without portfolio on 28 April 2021 for the period of her maternity, after her position of Minister for Justice was temporarily reassigned.
It is common practice in Israel to appoint ministers without portfolio as part of the coalition negotiations. All cabinets in recent years have had at least some such appointment. The Governance Law passed in 2013 forbade Ministers Without Portfolio effectively ending the practice, however in spite of some objections, after the 2015 elections this issue was revisited in the Knesset and it was allowed for the practice to resume. The full alphabetical list of Ministers without Portfolio since 1949 is:
In the Italian government, Ministers without Portfolio are nominated by the President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) and formally appointed by the President of the Republic to lead particular departments directly under the Presidency (or Presidium) of the Council of Ministers. Unlike the office of State Undersecretary to the Presidency, who fulfils duties in the Prime Minister's remit, Ministers without Portfolio enjoy the full status of ministers but do not lead an independent ministry. Departments on equalities, European affairs and relations with regions, for example, are usually led by ministers without portfolio.
The Monti Cabinet had 6 ministers without portfolio:
The Letta Cabinet had 8 ministers without portfolio:
The Renzi Cabinet had 3 ministers without portfolio:
As of 2017, ministers without portfolio (министер без ресор) are:
Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat.
A minister without portfolio in the Netherlands is a minister that does not head a specific ministry, but assumes the same power and responsibilities as a minister that does. The minister is responsible for a specific part of another minister's policy field. In that sense, a minister without portfolio is comparable to a staatssecretaris (state secretary or junior minister) in Dutch politics, who also falls under another ministry and is responsible for a specific part of that minister's policy field. However, one distinct difference is that a minister without portfolio is a member of the council of ministers and can vote in it, whereas a state secretary is not. The minister for development cooperation has always been a minister without portfolio.
In the second Balkenende cabinet there were three ministers without portfolio: Agnes van Ardenne (Development Cooperation), Rita Verdonk (Integration and Immigration) and Alexander Pechtold (Government Reform and Kingdom Relations).
In the fourth Balkenende cabinet there were three ministers without portfolio: Eberhard van der Laan (Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration), Bert Koenders (Development Cooperation) and André Rouvoet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Family.
The second Rutte cabinet had two ministers without portfolio: Stef Blok (Housing and the Central Government Sector) and Lilianne Ploumen (Development Cooperation).
The third Rutte cabinet has four ministers without portfolio: Sigrid Kaag (Development Cooperation), Sander Dekker (Legal Protection), Martin van Rijn (Medical Care), and Arie Slob (Primary and Secondary Education and Media).
In the First Labour Government from 1935 Mark Fagan was a "Minister without Portfolio" from 1935 to 1939, as was David Wilson from 1939 to 1949. They were appointed to the upper house and made a "minister without portfolio" to add them to the cabinet although neither were elected to a seat in Parliament.
In the Third National Government, Keith Holyoake was made a Minister of State 1975–77 after he had retired as party leader, and in the Fourth National Government Robin Gray was made a Minister of State 1993–96 after he was replaced as Speaker (though he was also Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs). Both appointments were considered sinecures to avoid their return as 'backbenchers'.
The following were appointed to the Executive Council as Ministers without Portfolio.
Liberal Reform United Labour National
†: Died in office
|Name||Portrait||Term of Office||Prime Minister|
|James Carroll||16 March 1892||20 February 1896||Ballance|
|Alfred Cadman||21 December 1899||9 May 1901|
|William Montgomery||19 July 1893||7 November 1895|
|Mahuta Tāwhiao||22 May 1903||6 August 1906|
|Āpirana Ngata||7 January 1909||28 March 1912||Ward|
|Peter Buck||28 March 1912||10 July 1912||Mackenzie|
|Thomas Buxton||28 March 1912||10 July 1912|
|Māui Pōmare||10 July 1912||3 May 1916||Massey|
|William Fraser||27 July 1920||16 July 1923†|
|David Guthrie||25 June 1924||31 March 1927†|
|Heaton Rhodes||18 January 1926||10 December 1928|
|Francis Bell||24 May 1926||25 August 1928|
|Sir Joseph Ward||28 May 1930||8 July 1930†||Forbes|
|Robert Masters||20 August 1930||22 September 1931|
|Mark Fagan||6 December 1935||18 July 1939||Savage|
|David Wilson||18 November 1939||30 May 1940|
|Paraire Karaka Paikea||21 January 1941||6 May 1943†|
|Eruera Tirikatene||26 May 1943||13 December 1949|
|Adam Hamilton||16 July 1940||5 October 1942|
|Gordon Coates||16 July 1940||5 October 1942|
|William Polson||15 March 1950||12 December 1950||Holland|
|Sidney Holland||20 September 1957||12 December 1957||Holyoake|
|David Seath||24 January 1962||20 December 1963|
|Hugh Watt||13 March 1975||12 December 1975||Rowling|
From 2009 to 2013 Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen (Labour) was a Minister without Portfolio and Chief of Staff in the Prime Ministers Office, where his job was to co-ordinate within government.
During the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, then-Senate President Manuel Roxas was appointed Minister without Portfolio by the Japanese Government.[ citation needed ]
Following the Carnation Revolution, several politicians were made ministers without portfolio:
After the 1st Constitutional Government (1976–1978), there haven't been any appointments of ministers without portfolio.
A similar but not sinecural cabinet position, that of Minister Adjunct (ministro adjunto), who does not head a particular ministry but is instead tasked with the general interministerial measures found in the government programme, has been created in some Portuguese governments.
From 2007 to 2008, Dragan Đilas was a "minister without portfolio" in charge of the National Investment Plan.
In Singapore, the appointment holder is known as a 'Minister in the Prime Minister's Office'.
In the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China, there are several ministers without portfolio at once. Currently, they are:
President Jakaya Kikwete appointed Professor Mark Mwandosya as a minister without portfolio in 2012.
Since 2015, the cabinet list has included a minister without portfolio:
The Vice President of the United States is a member of the Cabinet but heads no department. As such, the Vice President may be assigned to policy areas of the President's choosing such as foreign diplomacy (Richard Nixon), space programs (Lyndon B. Johnson) or public health (Mike Pence).
An individual who has great influence on government affairs without holding formal office might be described as a "minister without portfolio". Such an appellation is completely unofficial (possibly intended jokingly or disparagingly) and merely serves to underscore the extent of the individual's already-existing influence; it does not grant any new influence or power. Examples include Bernard Baruch,Arthur Burns, and Ivanka Trump.
The Constitution of Dáil Éireann, more commonly known as the Dáil Constitution, was the constitution of the 1919–22 Irish Republic. It was adopted by the First Dáil at its first meeting on 21 January 1919 and remained in operation until 6 December 1922. As adopted it consisted of five articles. Article 1 declared that the Dáil had "full powers to legislate" and would consist of representatives elected in elections conducted by the British government. For the exercise of executive power it created a cabinet, answerable to the Dáil, called the Ministry, headed by a prime minister called the "Príomh Aire". The constitution was limited to an outline of the functions of the legislature and the executive; the Dáil later established a system of Dáil Courts, but there was no provision in the constitution on a judiciary. The final article of the constitution declared that it was intended to be a provisional document, in the sense that it was subject to amendment. As adopted the constitution came to only around 370 words. In comparison, the modern Constitution of Ireland has approximately 16,000 words. Overall, the structure of the document was as follows:
The Government of the 24th Dáil or the 19th Government of Ireland was the government of Ireland formed after the November 1982 general election. It was a coalition government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party led by Garret FitzGerald as Taoiseach.
There were two Governments of the 21st Dáil, which was elected at the 1977 general election on 16 June 1977. The 15th Government of Ireland was led by Jack Lynch as Taoiseach, while the 16th Government of Ireland was led by Charles Haughey. Both were single-party majority Fianna Fáil governments.
The Government of the 20th Dáil or the 14th Government of Ireland was the government of Ireland formed after the 1973 general election held on 28 February 1973. It was a coalition government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party, known as the National Coalition, led by Liam Cosgrave as Taoiseach with Brendan Corish as Tánaiste. It was the first time either of the parties had been in government since the Government of the 15th Dáil (1954–57), when they were in coalition with Clann na Talmhan.
The Government of the 12th Dáil or the 4th Government of Ireland was the government of Ireland formed after the 1944 general election held on 30 May. It was a single-party Fianna Fáil government led by Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach. Fianna Fáil had been in office since the 1932 general election.
The Government of the 3rd Dáil was first both concurrently the 2nd Provisional Government and the 5th Ministry of Dáil Éireann, formed after the 1922 general election held on 16 June 1922, and then the 1st Executive Council of the Irish Free State, formed after the establishment of the Irish Free State. They were led by W. T. Cosgrave, who had become the leader of the Pro-Treaty wing of Sinn Féin and on 27 April 1923 became the first leader of the Cumann na nGaedheal.
A Minister of State in Ireland is of non-cabinet rank attached to one or more Departments of State of the Government of Ireland and assists the Minister of the Government responsible for that Department.
The Minister for Labour was originally a position in the Government of the Irish Republic, the self-declared state which was established in 1919 by Dáil Éireann, the parliamentary assembly made up of the majority of Irish MPs elected in the 1918 general election. Constance Markievicz was the first person to hold the post. The office did not continue into the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland.
The Executive Council was the cabinet and de facto executive branch of government of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. Formally, executive power was vested in the Governor-General on behalf of the King. In practice, however, it was the Council that governed, since the Governor-General was bound to act on its advice. The Executive Council included a prime minister called the President of the Executive Council and a deputy prime minister called the Vice-President. A member of the Council was called an executive minister, as distinct from an extern minister who had charge of a department without being in the Council.
The Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures was the title of Frank Aiken as a member of the Government of Ireland from 8 September 1939 to 18 June 1945 during The Emergency — the state of emergency in operation in Ireland during World War II. The Minister was intended to handle Civil Defence and related measures, allowing the Minister for Defence to concentrate on matters relating to the regular Army. The office was also responsible for handling wartime censorship.
The Constitution Act 1936 was an amendment to the Constitution of the Irish Free State that removed all reference to the King, to the office of Governor-General, and almost completely eliminated the King's constitutional role in the state. Under the Act most of the functions previously performed by the King and his Governor-General were transferred to various other organs of the Irish government. The only role retained by the King was as representative of the state in foreign affairs. The amendment passed through the Oireachtas at the same time as the External Relations Act, becoming law on 11 December 1936. Its long title was:
An Act to effect certain amendments of the Constitution in relation to the executive authority and power and in relation to the performance of certain executive functions.
In the Irish Free State, an extern minister, formally a Minister who shall not be a Member of the Executive Council, was a minister who had charge of a department but was not a member of the Executive Council. Extern ministers were individually nominated by Dáil Éireann, whereas of the Executive Council only the President was: he in turn nominated the other members. All ministers were formally appointed by the Governor-General. The Executive Council included the senior ministers, exercised cabinet collective responsibility, and had to be TDs ; the extern ministers filled more junior technocratic roles, and need not be legislators, though in fact all were TDs. In practice, all ministers formed a united administration, and no extern ministers were appointed after 1927.
The Ministers and Secretaries Acts 1924 to 2020 is the legislation which governs the appointment of ministers to the Government of Ireland and the allocation of functions between departments of state. It is subject in particular to the provisions of Article 28 of the Constitution of Ireland. The Acts allow for the appointment of between 7 and 15 Ministers of Government across 17 Departments, and for the appointment of up to 20 junior ministers, titled Ministers of State, to assist the Ministers of Government in their powers and duties.
A Department of State of Ireland is a department or ministry of the Government of Ireland. The head of such a department is a minister termed a Minister of the Government; prior to 1977 such ministers were called Ministers of State, a term now used for junior (non-cabinet) ministers. Most members of the government are Ministers of the Government, though there may occasionally be a minister without portfolio who does not head a department of state. The law regarding the departments of state and ministers of the government is based in the Constitution of Ireland, primarily in Article 28, with legislative detail in the Ministers and Secretaries Acts 1924 to 2020.
The Government of the 31st Dáil or the 29th Government of Ireland was the government of Ireland which was formed following the 2011 general election to Dáil Éireann on 25 February 2011. It was a coalition government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party led by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. From 2011 to 2014, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore served as Tánaiste, and from 2014 to 2016, the new Labour leader Joan Burton served as Tánaiste.
There were two Governments of the 32nd Dáil, which was elected at the general election held on 26 February 2016. The 30th Government of Ireland was led by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and the 31st Government of Ireland was led by Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. They were minority governments with Fine Gael and Independent TDs at cabinet, reliant on the support of other Independent TDs, and a confidence and supply arrangement with Fianna Fáil. It was the first time Fine Gael had returned to government after a general election, and the succession of Varadkar as Taoiseach in 2017 was the first time a Fine Gael leader had succeeded a party colleague as Taoiseach within a Dáil term.
The Government of the 33rd Dáil or the 32nd Government of Ireland is the government of Ireland which was formed on 27 June 2020, following negotiations on a programme for government for a coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party that followed the 2020 general election to Dáil Éireann held on 8 February. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will serve as Taoiseach, with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar serving as Tánaiste. It has been agreed that the government will last until December 2022, after which the positions will rotate, with Varadkar forming a new government as Taoiseach, and Martin serving as Tánaiste. It is the first time that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have participated in the same government, which Varadkar has suggested signifies the end of what has often been referred to as Civil War politics.
The Minister for Economic Planning and Development is a member of the Government not having charge of a Department of State, who is therefore, under section 4 (2) of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1939 a Minister without portfolio. His title is not derived from the title of a Department of which he is head, because it does not exist, but it is a title that has been assigned to him by the Government pursuant to section 4 (3) of the 1939 Act.
he was a minister without portfolio from 1963 to 1965