A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch.
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They are usually called ministers, but in some jurisdictions are sometimes called secretaries.
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The functions of a cabinet are varied: in some countries it is a collegial 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.
Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony who often presides over a cabinet.
A head of state or Chief of State is the highest-ranking position in a sovereign state and is vested with powers to act as the chief public representative of that state.
In some countries, the cabinet is called "Council of Ministers" or "Government Council" or lesser known names such as "Federal Council", "Inner Council" or "High Council".
In some countries, particularly those that use a parliamentary system, the Cabinet collectively decides the government's direction, especially in regard to legislation passed by the parliament.
A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive branch derives its democratic legitimacy from the legislature and is also held accountable to that legislature.
In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative, elected body of government.
In countries with a presidential system, such as the United States, the Cabinet does not function as a collective legislative influence; rather, their primary role is as an official advisory council to the head of government.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of ‹See TfD›50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
In this way, the President gets opinions and advice in upcoming decisions.
A president is the leader of a country or a division or part of a country, typically a republic, a democracy, or a dictatorship.
Legally, under both types of systems, the Westminster system and the presidential system, the Cabinet "advises" the Head of State: the difference is that, in a parliamentary system, the monarch, viceroy or ceremonial president will almost always follow this advice, whereas in a presidential system, a president who is also head of government and political leader may depart from the Cabinet's advice if he does not agree with it.
In parliamentary democracies which do not have the Westminster system, very often the Cabinet does not "advise" the Head of State as he plays only a ceremonial role.
Instead, it is usually the Head of Government who holds all means of power in his hands and the Cabinet reports to him.
The second role of cabinet officials is to administer executive branch government agencies or departments
A government or state agency, often an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency.
In many parliamentary democracies, including those that use the Westminster system, Cabinet ministers are usually appointed from among sitting members of the legislature and either remain members of the legislature while serving in the cabinet, or have to give up their seat in parliament, which is especially the case in countries with a strict separation between the executive and legislative branches of government.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city.
The latter is usually also the case in countries with a presidential system: Cabinet members cannot be sitting legislators, and legislators who are offered appointments must resign if they wish to accept.
In most governments, members of the Cabinet are given the title of minister, and each holds a different portfolio of government duties.
In a few governments, as in the case of Mexico, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and United States, the title of secretary is also used for some Cabinet members.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe.
The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal republic in the southern half of North America.
In many countries, a Secretary is a cabinet member with an inferior rank to a minister.
In some countries attorneys general also sit in the cabinet, while in many others this is strictly prohibited as the attorneys general are considered to be part of the judicial branch of government.
The day-to-day role of most cabinet members is to serve as the chief of one segment of the executive branch of the national government and its respective bureaucracy to whom all other subordinate public servants and employees in that ministry or department have to report.
A bureaucracy is "a body of non-elective government officials" and/or "an administrative policy-making group".
The size of cabinets varies, although most contain around ten to twenty ministers.