Meaning of executive branch

What is executive branch:

The executive branch is one of the three branches of a republican state. The executive branch is in charge of designing, planning and executing a country's project based on the constitution and laws.

Thus, it acts as an entity that directs, coordinates, plans and executes government actions. However, it cannot legislate or administer the justice system, as this corresponds to the legislature and the judiciary respectively.

The executive branch is represented by the Head of State and / or the Head of Government. This will depend on the political structure of each country enshrined in its constitution.

Executive branch functions

The function of the executive branch is to organize, plan, execute and evaluate government actions for the benefit of the country. This implies:

  • Put the laws into practice;
  • Plan and execute the annual budget;
  • Design and execute policies in the areas of education, public health, culture, sports; finance, economics, communications, etc.
  • Delegate functions to the national, regional, municipal and parish levels.
  • Propose reforms or adjustments in the tax system;
  • Represent the State in the international arena;
  • Direct foreign policy;
  • Propose and / or sign international treaties;
  • Protect the nation from foreign attacks and ensure internal peace.

See also Division of powers.

Executive branch structure

The Constitution of the Republic will determine who represents the executive power and what functions they cover according to the political model adopted.

In the western world, the most frequent models are presidentialism, semi-presidentialism and parliamentarism.


In Latin America, almost all countries are governed by the presidential model. In this model, the Head of State or President concentrates the functions of Head of State and Head of Government in a single position.

Therefore, in the hands of the President of the Republic are the functions of directing, controlling and administering both foreign and domestic policy. In the presidential model, the structure normally follows the following form:

  • President or Head of State
  • Vice president
  • Ministers
  • Attorney
  • Other executive bodies

Semi-presidentialism and parliamentarism

Both semi-presidential governments and parliamentary governments in general separate foreign policy from domestic policy. This is expressed in the positions of Head of State and Head of Government respectively. Let's see.

Head of State or President

The State and, in particular, the executive power, is represented by the Head of State or President of the Republic.

In parliamentary or semi-presidential models of government, the Head of State or President coordinates and represents the foreign policy of the nation and, in this sense, has the power to appoint the diplomatic delegations that may arise.

Head of Government or Prime Minister

By government is understood the authority of a political unit, whose purpose is to direct, control and administer the institutions of the State.

It is represented by the Head of Government or Prime Minister, who is assisted by ministers, secretaries, departments or cabinets designated by him.

The team of the head of government collaborates, executes and advises the preparation of budgets, proposals for laws and safeguarding compliance with the law. They therefore fulfill an administrative function.

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