Politics in Minutes (2016)
In parliamentary systems, the executive branch of government – the part that carries out the laws made by parliament – is overseen by ministers who together form a cabinet or council of ministers. The functions of the cabinet differ from country to country, ranging from a mainly advisory role to the head of government, to a policy- and decision-making group that effectively is the government.
Normally, ministers are appointed by the prime minister from the elected members of parliament, and given responsibility for different government departments. Among the most important members of the cabinet are the ministers for foreign and domestic affairs (known in the UK as Foreign and Home Secretaries), and the minister of finance (Chancellor of the Exchequer). In a presidential system, however, the ministers are not members of the legislative assembly. Lacking the same collective executive power, they act instead as advisors to the president, or as chief executives of their departments.