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A minister (in Switzerland a head of department fulfills a similar function) is a member of a government and usually the head of a ministry .

Historical and linguistic

The term minister comes from the Latin (ministrare 'serve') and means servant (here: first servant ). In the diplomacy of the early modern period (even today) the term can also refer to a messenger . In some countries (such as the United States ) instead of the title is secretary ( secretary ) or State used. (In the English-speaking area, minister is usually understood to mean a pastor ). In some oriental states, among other things, the Persian word vizier is used.


In Germany there are ministers at federal and state level .

Federal Minister

See main article Federal Minister (Germany) , with a list of the acting Federal Ministers

Basic legal basis

Article 64.1 of the Basic Law: "The Federal Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Chancellor ."

Art. 65 GG: “The Federal Chancellor determines the guidelines of politics and is responsible for them. Within these guidelines, each federal minister manages his division independently and under his own responsibility. The federal government decides on differences of opinion between the federal ministers. The Chancellor conducts its business after adopted by the Federal Government and approved by the Federal President 's Rules . "

Art. 65 a GG: "The Federal Minister of Defense has command and control over the armed forces ."

Art. 66 GG: "The Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers may not exercise any other salaried office , trade or profession and neither belong to the management nor to the supervisory board of a company aimed at acquisition without the consent of the Bundestag."

Article 69, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law: "The Federal Chancellor appoints a Federal Minister as his deputy ."

Article 69 (2) GG: "The office of the Federal Chancellor or a Federal Minister ends in any case with the meeting of a new Bundestag, the office of a Federal Minister also with any other execution of the Office of the Federal Chancellor."

Other laws

Details are regulated by the law on the legal relationships of the members of the federal government .

Minister of State at federal level

The Parliamentary State Secretaries assigned to the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs can be awarded the official title of Minister of State by the Federal President .

State Minister

Accordingly, the state ministers (state ministers, ministers, senators) as members of the state government are usually appointed by the head of government ( prime minister , mayor ).


See main article Federal Minister (Austria)

In Austria , the Federal Ministers are appointed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Chancellor . The Federal Chancellor has no right to issue instructions and no authority to issue guidelines vis-à-vis the ministers. The federal ministers can be dismissed with a vote of no confidence by the National Council . At the time of the Provisional Governments 1918–1920 and 1945 the ministers in Austria were called State Secretaries .

On the state level , the official relator of the members of the government is the provincial government and the provincial government.


In Switzerland , the office of a German or Austrian minister corresponds more or less to that of a Federal Council , which has the role of a department head . The entire Federal Council consists of seven members. These are used by the United Federal Assembly in her office fixedly chosen for four years. After the respective new elections, the Federal Council constitutes itself as a body, whereby the Federal Councilors each have the opportunity to change their departments, as is customary. The democratic legitimation is given differently due to the election by the parliament than in the case of a minister appointed (and at most confirmed) by a head of government . This is shown, among other things, by the fact that he cannot be recalled.

The title “Minister” is used in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for high- ranking diplomats (especially for the Deputy Ambassador ).


In Belgium there are ministers at federal level as well as at community and regional government level . The ministries at the federal level are known as the Federal Public Service .

The government of the German-speaking Community, for example, comprises four ministers in the 2014–2019 legislative period. The public administration of the DG, however, does not consist of four ministries, but is combined in a single ministry of the German-speaking community .

See also: List of ministries in Belgium

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Minister  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations