Government Structure

Singapore is a republic with a parliamentary system of government based on the Westminster Model. The roots of Singapore’s legal system can be traced back to the English legal system and it has evolved over the years. The sources of law are derived from the Constitution, legislation, subsidiary legislation (e.g. Rules and Regulations, etc.) and judge-made law.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and lays down the basic framework for the three state organs, namely, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

The Executive includes the elected President, the Cabinet and the Attorney-General. The President is elected by the people and is empowered to veto government budgets and public office appointments. The Cabinet comprises the Prime Minister and Ministers appointed from among the Members of Parliament and is responsible for the general direction and control of the government and is accountable to Parliament. The Attorney-General is the principal legal advisor to the government and has the power and discretion to prosecute offenders.

The Legislature comprises the President and Parliament and is the legislative authority responsible for enacting legislation. Parliament is made up of elected, non-constituency and nominated Members of Parliament. The President’s assent is required for all bills passed by Parliament and he may in his discretion withhold assent to certain bills.

The Judiciary consists of the Supreme Court and the State Courts and the head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice. Judicial power in Singapore is vested in the Supreme Court and in such subordinate courts as may be provided for by any written law for the time being in force.

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