Minister (government)

Minister (government)

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A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet.

In some countries and territories, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, the UK, and the US, holders of some posts equivalent to ministries are called secretaries of state, sometimes referred to simply as secretaries (e.g., the Home Secretary). The term minister is also used in diplomacy for second-level diplomats (heads of legations).



The term minister comes from Middle English, deriving from the Old French word ministre, originally minister in Latin, meaning 'servant'.[1]


In most parliamentary and semi-presidential systems of government, ministers are selected from the elected legislature. Normally the leader of the majority party becomes the prime minister and selects the other ministers from members of the parliament who belong to the party or parties that form the government. These ministers continue to represent their constituency in parliament while being part of the government. Occasionally, a person from the outside may be appointed minister, usually in order to bring special skills to the government. Such a person would not be part of the parliament while serving as minister, nor would he/she necessarily be a member of the party/parties in government.

In some presidential systems of government, such as the United States, Philippines, and Mexico, ministers are formally titled secretaries because the term minister was considered to carry royalist connotations considered inappropriate in a republic. They are appointed by the president, and are not members of the legislature; a legislator chosen to become a state secretary resigns from the legislature.

Types of ministers

Some ministers may hold multiple portfolios and lead several ministries simultaneously. A cabinet minister may not be in charge of any ministry, and is then known as a "minister without portfolio".

See also


  1. ^ The word Minister Definition, dictionaries

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