The power to enforce the law and realize domestic policies is vested constitutionally in the Cabinet, a collegiate body which is comprised by the Chief Secretary and the leaders of various Executive Departments established by statute.
In order to form a Cabinet, the President of the Republic initially appoints the Chief Secretary “at his pleasure” when there is a vacancy in the latter office; then, the Chief Secretary recommends the appointments of other Cabinet members, which the President is obligated to carry out. Once a Chief Secretary is installed, the President has no power to remove him and, in fact, must carry out any subsequent removals or appointments of other Cabinet members which the former recommends. In this way, not unlike the French Prime Minister and the French Gouvernement, the Cabinet serve and work all independently of the President or presidential influence.
Together the Cabinet have the power to make decrees, regulations, executive orders, and other instruments necessary to administer their branch, the law, and the domestic policy. They, along with the rest of the Government, may be summoned at any time by legislators of either House and be held there to account for their overall performance.
All members of the Cabinet hold their offices indefinitely while they collectively maintain the confidence of the Chamber of Delegates, or unless the Chief Secretary leaves office for any cause. In either case, however, they are not formally discharged until the next Chief Secretary is appointed and installed.
The Chief Secretary
As the head of Government, the Chief Secretary promulgates all laws, takes care that “the domestic policy be realized and the Law be executed faithfully”, and superintends the various Departments from day to day. Together with the President, the Chief Secretary also leads the Council of State as its Vice-Chairman.
In order to be appointed, the Chief Secretary must satisfy a number of qualifications, to wit:
- Be 30 years old (or at least 20 years old before 2027);
- Have been a citizen of the Republic for 7 years (this requirement is waived through 2031);
- Be and remain an inhabitant within the State throughout his tenure; and
- At the time of his appointment, not have served or acted as the President longer than 18 months during the preceding 4 years.
By virtue of the office, the Chief Secretary is the only person other than a sitting legislator who is able to introduce legislation, and may do so on behalf of the whole Cabinet in either House of the legislature.