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Government, Executive

president names, presidential decrees, popular referendum, internal order, cabinet ministers

The head of state is the president of the republic, who is nominated by the lower house of the legislature and is elected by popular referendum for a six-year term. The president, who may serve unlimited consecutive terms, dominates the government. This official may decree emergency measures in the interests of the state, but the constitution stipulates that the president must obtain consent for any such decree by a popular referendum within 60 days. However, a state of emergency that has been in effect since 1981 has set aside the requirement of popular approval for presidential decrees. The president has the power to formulate general state policy and supervise its execution. This official can dissolve the legislature, declare war after approval by the legislature, ratify treaties, commute penalties, and order plebiscites.

The president names a prime minister and a council of ministers, or cabinet. Most ministers serve as the executive officers of the government’s various departments, including those dealing with foreign affairs, internal order, social affairs, justice, agriculture, commerce, industry, and education. Some ministers also hold the title of deputy prime minister. Egyptian cabinets help set government policy, but key decisions are often made by the president in consultation with a few close advisers, most of whom are former cabinet ministers or high-ranking military officers.

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