What are the powers of the State?

We explain what are the powers of the State, its history and characteristics of each: executive, judicial and legislative.

  1. What are the powers of the State?

The powers of the State or the public powers are the different institutions that make up the State . They exercise their role as controller and guarantor of public life and the rule of law.

They function according to the principle of the separation of public powers, proposed by Montesquieu in the eighteenth century, as a mechanism that guaranteed a more just and equitable State, which monitored itself.

After the fall of the Old Regime during the Modern Age , absolutism was abolished as a system of government in which a king and his entourage had full and indisputable control of the State. Instead, the new societies established that the State should be exercised by all citizens.

Thus, sovereignty fell on citizens , who could be elected to public office, making decisions as to where the country would go. For this, it was essential that the State had counterweights, that is, that its power should not be absolute and indisputable, but that it could be controlled by other public bodies, which became known as State powers.

Such powers should, ideally, be independent of each other , sovereign and equally powerful, since all three must be limited to the Constitution and its legal framework of laws . Each one in its own way, has the mission of ensuring the adequacy of the others, acting as a counterweight and thus preventing the State from being controlled by a single instance .

The powers of the State are the executive, the legislative and the judicial. In some legal systems there may be more than three powers, but rarely less than three, at least in the republican and democratic nations of the world.

  1. Executive power

The executive branch is responsible for the administration and conduct of the State , for political and strategic decision making . It usually falls to the figure of a head of state, so called or president or prime minister, depending on the bureaucratic structure of the nation.

This position is usually elected by popular vote (direct or indirect) and can be seconded by a vice president (or several). It is decentralized in the case of Federal Republics in the mandate of provincial governors.

The constitutions of each country stipulate the mechanisms to elect, dismiss or re-elect (if possible) the President, and also the powers that correspond to the executive branch, which are generally political and administrative.

  1. Legislative power

The legislative branch is in charge of legislation, that is, the elaboration of laws that govern life in the country and that serve as a counterpart to the executive branch.

Many of the presidential decisions, in fact, must be endorsed by the legislature before they can be applied. Usually this power is in charge of prosecuting public office officials politically , since theirs is the voice of the people in their direct representation.

Generally the legislative power resides in the hands of a National Assembly , Congress or any other type of Parliament. Its members are elected by the popular vote and usually belong to various political parties. There are two-chamber parliaments (with deputies and senators) or single-chamber parliaments (only with deputies).

  1. Power of attorney

He is responsible for enforcing the laws , interpreting what is established in the Constitution so that the State functions in full respect of the law. For this, it has several judicial bodies, at the head of which is the Supreme Court of Justice , but which extends like a tree, from greater to lesser hierarchy, throughout the nation.

In addition, the judiciary is responsible for resolving disputes and conflicts between other public authorities , always in the light of the provisions of the Magna Carta.

It guarantees compliance with the law, the punishment of those who violate it, as well as the various legal instances necessary for the State to function regularly: administrative, criminal, constitutional, procedural, etc.

In this way, the judiciary transmits its decisions through sentences, which constitute legal documents and are part of the legal history of the nation.

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