Minister without portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister who does not head a particular ministry. The sinecure is particularly common in countries ruled by coalition governments and a cabinet with decision making authority wherein a minister without portfolio, while he or she may not head any particular office or ministry, does have the right to cast a vote in cabinet decisions. In some countries where the executive branch is not composed of a coalition of parties and, more often, in countries with purely presidential systems of government, such as the United States, the position (or an equivalent position) of minister without portfolio is uncommon.
- 1 Australia
- 2 Bangladesh
- 3 Bulgaria
- 4 Canada
- 5 Denmark
- 6 Germany
- 7 Hungary
- 8 India
- 9 Ireland
- 10 Israel
- 11 Italy
- 12 Republic of Macedonia
- 13 Nepal
- 14 Netherlands
- 15 New Zealand
- 16 Norway
- 17 Philippines
- 18 Portugal
- 19 Serbia
- 20 Republic of China (Taiwan)
- 21 Sweden
- 22 Tanzania
- 23 United Kingdom
- 24 United States
- 25 References
- 26 External links
- Stanley Bruce – former Prime Minister
Bangladesh appoints ministers without portfolio during cabinet reshuffles or fresh appointments. Ministers are not usually appointed without portfolio as a coalition negotiation – all long run ministers end up with a portfolio.
Current ministers without portfolio, appointed on 28 November 2011, are:
While minister without portfolio is seen by some as a mere sinecure appointment, it has been a role that numerous political notables have played over time, including former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who filled the role in a Pearson cabinet in the 1960s; John Turner also "kept a seat warm" in a Pearson cabinet. Notable Conservatives who filled the role include R. B. Bennett, and Arthur Meighen; however, Meighen served this role after he had been prime minister.
The title of minister without portfolio has been used off and on; in recent times, though, the title has fallen out of favour, and the last minister without portfolio, Gilles Lamontagne, was promoted to postmaster general in 1978. The practice has continued under the guise of ministers of state without responsibilities in the ministers' titles.
The position has also been filled on the federal or provincial level by experienced politicians near the end of their careers as a way of allowing them to counsel the government and take on projects without the burdens associated with administering a government department.
Three "control ministers" served as ministers without portfolio during World War I.
After the Liberation of Denmark in May 1945, the first Danish cabinet included four ministers without portfolio. Among these were Danish ambassador to the U.S. Henrik Kauffmann, who had conducted his own foreign policy throughout the war and refused to follow orders from Copenhagen as long as Denmark remained occupied by a foreign power. Kauffmann served in this capacity from 12 May to 7 November 1945. The three other holders of this title had joined the cabinet a few days before - Aksel Larsen (Communist Party of Denmark), Kr. Juul Christensen (Danish Unity) and Frode Jakobsen (Social Democrats).
Anders Fogh Rasmussen appointed Bertel Haarder to Minister without Portfolio, but effectively Minister for European Affairs. Haarder served in this capacity from 27 November 2001 to 18 February 2005. The reason for appointing a minister without a ministry was the Danish European Union Presidency of 2002. Haarder was considered the most experienced Danish politician on European affairs.
Since 1949, a Federal Minister for Special Affairs (Bundesminister für besondere Aufgaben) is a member of the Federal Government that does not have charge of a Federal Ministry, although some have simultaneously been Chief of the Federal Chancellor's Office.
The Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1939 (Section 4) allows a member of the Government of Ireland not to have charge of a Department of State; such a person is referred to as a "Minister without portfolio" (Irish: Aire gan Cúram Roinne). Such a minister may nevertheless be given a specific title. The only substantive minster without portfolio has been Frank Aiken, the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures during World War II. By the Emergency Powers Act 1939 then in force, the Minister for Defence was able to delegate some competences to him. Such delegation is now done instead with Ministers of State: "junior ministers" who are not members of the government. Junior ministers can be given a right to sit at cabinet; they are often known colloquially as "super-juniors." This allows the Government to circumvent the Constitutional limit on the number of Senior Ministers.
On several occasions a minister has been appointed to an incoming government with the title of a new Department of State. Between the date of appointment and the date of creation of the department, such a minister was technically a minister without portfolio. Examples include:
|Title||Govt||Minister||Appt to govt||Dept created||Dept|
|Minister of Economic Planning and Development||21st Dáil||Martin O'Donoghue||8 July 1977||13 December 1977||Department of Economic Planning and Development|
|Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform||31st Dáil||Brendan Howlin||9 March 2011||6 July 2011||Department of Public Expenditure and Reform|
It is common practice in Israel to appoint ministers without portfolio as part of the coalition negotiations. All cabinets in recent years have had at least some such appointment. The full alphabetical list of Ministers without Portfolio since 1949 is:
In the Italian government, Ministers without Portfolio are nominated by the President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) and formally appointed by the President of the Republic to lead particular departments directly under the Presidency (or Presidium) of the Council of Ministers. Unlike the office of State Undersecretary to the Presidency, who fulfils duties in the Prime Minister's remit, Ministers without Portfolio enjoy the full status of ministers but do not lead an independent ministry. Departments on equalities, European affairs and relations with regions, for example, are usually led by ministers without portfolio.
The Monti Cabinet had 6 ministers without portfolio:
- Dino Piero Giarda (Relations with Parliament)
- Fabrizio Barca (Territorial cohesion)
- Piero Gnudi (Regional affairs, Tourism and Sport)
- Enzo Moavero Milanesi (European affairs)
- Andrea Riccardi (Integration and International cooperation)
- Filippo Patroni Griffi (Public Administration and Law simplification)
The Letta Cabinet had 8 ministers without portfolio:
- Josefa Idem (Equal opportunities, Sport and Youth policy; resigned in June)
- Cécile Kyenge (Integration and Youth Policy)
- Giampiero D'Alia (Public Administration)
- Dario Franceschini (Relations with Parliament)
- Enzo Moavero Milanesi (European affairs)
- Graziano Delrio (Regional affairs and Sport)
- Carlo Triglia (Territorial cohesion)
- Gaetano Quagliariello (Constitutional reforms)
As of 2012, ministers without portfolio (министер без ресор) are:
A Minister without Portfolio in the Netherlands is a minister that does not head a specific ministry, but assumes the same power and responsibilities as a minister that does. The minister is responsible for a specific part of another minister's policy field. In that sense, a minister without portfolio is comparable to a staatssecretaris (state secretary/junior minister) in Dutch politics, who also falls under another ministry and is responsible for a specific part of that minister's policy field. However, one distinct difference is the fact that a minister without portfolio is a member of the council of ministers and can vote in it, whereas a state secretary is not. The minister for development cooperation has always been a minister without portfolio.
In the second Balkenende cabinet there were three ministers without portfolio: Agnes van Ardenne (Development Cooperation), Rita Verdonk (Integration and Immigration) and Alexander Pechtold (Government Reform and Kingdom Relations).
In the fourth Balkenende cabinet there were three ministers without portfolio: Eberhard van der Laan (Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration), Bert Koenders (Development Cooperation) and André Rouvoet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Family.
In the First Labour Government from 1935 the Hon. Mark Fagan was a "Minister without Portfolio" from 1935 to 1939, as was the Hon. David Wilson from 1939 to 1949. They were appointed to the upper house and made a "minister without portfolio" to add them to the cabinet although neither were elected to a seat in Parliament.
In the Third National Government, Keith Holyoake was made a Minister of State 1975–77 after he had retired as party leader, and in the Fourth National Government Robin Gray was made a Minister of State 1993–96 after he had retired as Speaker (though he was also Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs). Both appointments were considered sinecures to avoid their return as 'backbenchers'.
From 2009 to 2013 Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen (Labour) was a Minister without Portfolio and Chief of Staff in the Prime Ministers Office, where his job was to co-ordinate within government.
Following the Carnation revolution, several politicians were made ministers without portfolio:
- Álvaro Cunhal (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th provisional government)
- Ernesto Melo Antunes (2nd, 3rd provisional government)
- Francisco Pereira de Moura (1st, 4th provisional government)
- Francisco Sá Carneiro (1st provisional government)
- Joaquim Magalhães Mota (2nd, 3rd, 4th provisional government)
- Jorge Campinos (1st constitucional government)
- Mário Soares (4th provisional government)
- Vítor Alves (2nd, 3rd provisional government)
Republic of China (Taiwan)
- Lin Junq-tzer, also serving as the Governor of Taiwan Province
- Yang Chiu-hsing
- Kuan Chung-ming, also serving as the Minister of National Development Council
- Joyce Feng
- Chen Shi-shuenn, also service as the Minister of Public Construction Commission
- Jaclyn Tsai, also serving as the Minister of Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission
- Chien Tai-lang
- Chiang Been-huang
- John Deng, also serving as the Governor of Fujian Province
- Dag Hammarskjöld (1951–1953).
In the United Kingdom, it is often a cabinet position, and is sometimes used to get people such as the Chairman of the Conservative Party or the Labour Party Chairman into cabinet meetings (if so, they hold the title of "Party Chairman"). The sinecure positions of Lord Privy Seal and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which have few responsibilities and have a higher rank in the Order of Precedence than Minister without Portfolio can also be used for similar effect.
In the United States, an individual who has great influence on government affairs without holding formal office might be described as a "minister without portfolio". Such an appellation is completely unofficial (possibly intended jokingly or disparagingly) and merely serves to underscore the extent of the individual's already-existing influence; it does not grant any new influence or power. Examples include Bernard Baruch and Arthur Burns.
- "Bangladeshi PM expands cabinet". China Daily. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Minister without Portfolio". Focal. Foras na Gaeilge. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Chubb, Basil (1982). Government & Politics of Ireland (2nd ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 170. ISBN 0-8047-1115-1.
- Emergency Powers Act, 1939; §6 Delegation of statutory powers and duties.
- S.I. No. 157/1944 — Air-Raid Precautions (Approval of Expenditure by Essential Undertakers) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations, 1944.
- "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 1977: Fifth Stage.". Dáil debates. Oireachtas. 10 November 1977. Retrieved 8 May 2012. "The Minister for Economic Planning and Development is a member of the Government not having charge of a Department of State, who is therefore, under section 4 (2) of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1939 a Minister without portfolio. His title is not derived from the title of a Department of which he is head, because it does not exist, but it is a title that has been assigned to him by the Government pursuant to section 4 (3) of the 1939 Act."
- "Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government.". Dáil debates. Oireachtas. 5 July 1977. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Mr. Martin O'Donoghue". Dáil Éireann Members Database. Oireachtas. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1977 Section 2". Irish Statute Book. Attorney General. 6 December 1977. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "S.I. No. 377/1977 — Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1977 (Appointed Day) Order, 1977.". Irish Statute Book. Attorney General. 9 December 1977. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Appointment of Ministers and Ministers of State". Dáil debates. 15 March 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011, Section 7". Irish Statute Book. Dublin: Attorney General. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "S.I. No. 401/2011 — Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 (Appointed Day) Order 2011.". Irish Statute Book. Dublin: Attorney General. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Bauman, Michael (1984-06-27). "Mysterious Baruch". Milwaukee Journal. p. 18. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- "The Administration: Minister Without Portfolio". Time. 1969-02-07. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- List of Canadian Ministers Without Portfolio and Ministers of State (Parliament of Canada Website)
- Taiwanese Ministers Without Portfolio