SECTION X. The Ministers of State
The Law, by absolute majority of members of each Chamber and at the initiative of the Executive Power, shall determine the number of Ministries, their own denomination and their attributions and competences as matters so determine, without prejudice to that provided in Article 181.
The President of the Republic, acting in the Council of Ministers, may redistribute attributions and competences.
The President of the Republic shall allot the Ministries to citizens who, by virtue of their parliamentary support, are assured of permanency in office.
The President of the Republic may require an express vote of confidence from the General Assembly for the Council of Ministers. To this effect he shall appear before the General Assembly, which shall decide without debate, by the vote of the absolute majority of the total of its members and within a period not greater than seventy-two hours from when the General Assembly receives the communication from the President of the Republic. If it does not meet within the time stipulated or, having met, does not adopt a decision, it shall be understood that the vote of confidence has been granted.
The Ministers shall cease in their responsibilities by resolution of the President of the Republic, without prejudice to that established in Section VIII.
The President of the Republic may declare that the Council of Ministers lacks parliamentary support, if he so understands it.
Without prejudice to that provided in Article 174, this declaration empowers him to substitute one or more Ministers.
If it so occurs, the Executive Power may totally or partially substitute the unelected members of the Directorates of the Autonomous Entities and of the Decentralized Services, as well as, as the case may be, the General Directors of the latter, [and] these substitutions cannot be challenged before the Contentious-Administrative Tribunal.
The Executive Power, acting in the Council of Ministers, must solicit the approval of the Chamber of Senators, in accordance with Article 187, for the designation of new Directors or, as the case may be, General Directors. Once approval is obtained, the substitution may proceed.
The faculties granted in this article may not be exercised during the first year of the mandate of the Government nor during the twelve months before the assumption of the following government.
These faculties may also not be exercised with respect to the authorities of the University of the Republic.
The same qualifications shall be required for a Minister as for a Senator.
Upon the opening of each legislative period, the Ministers shall submit a concise report to the General Assembly, on all matters concerning their respective Ministries.
Ministers of State shall be entitled to the same immunities and shall be subject to the same incompatibilities and prohibitions as Senators and Representatives, wherever pertinent.
They may not be impeached except in the manner indicated in Article 93 and even then, only while holding office. Whenever an impeachment is supported by a two-thirds vote of the full membership of the Chamber of Representatives, the impeached Minister is thereby suspended from his duties.
The Minister or the Ministers shall be responsible for the decrees and orders that they may sign or issue with the President of the Republic, except in case of express resolution of the Council of Ministers in which the responsibility shall be with those who agreed to the decision, becoming effective in accordance with Articles 93, 102 and 103.
The Ministers shall not be exempt from responsibility for cause of crime even if they invoke the written or verbal order of the President of the Republic or the Council of Ministers.
Ministers may attend the sessions of the General Assembly, of either Chamber, of the Permanent Commission, and of their respective standing committees, and may take part in debate but shall have no vote. The Undersecretaries of State shall have the same right, if so authorized by the respective Minister, except in the situations covered by Articles 119 and 147, in which case they may attend of accompanied by the Minister. In all cases, the Undersecretaries of State shall act under the responsibility of the Ministers.
The powers and duties of the Ministers, in their respective portfolios and in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Executive Power, are as follows:
- To enforce the Constitution, laws, decrees, and resolutions;
- To formulate and submit to the consideration of superior authority, such projects of laws, decrees and resolutions as they may deem appropriate;
- To effect, within the limits of their functions, the payment of recognized debts of the State;
- To grant leaves of absence to the employees of their departments;
- To propose the appointment or discharge of employees of their divisions;
- To supervise administrative functions and adopt the necessary measures for their proper conduct, and to impose disciplinary penalties;
- To sign and communicate the resolutions of the Executive Power;
- To perform any other functions entrusted to them by laws or by measures adopted by the Executive Power in Council of Ministers, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 160;
- To delegate any functions deemed desirable, determined by a reasoned resolution and under their political responsibility.
The functions of the Ministers and Undersecretaries shall be regulated by the Executive Power.
Each Ministry shall have an Undersecretary who shall be proposed by and take office with the Minister, and whose services will terminate with the latter, unless reappointed.
In the event of absence of the Ministers, the President of the Republic shall appoint an interim replacement, who should be another Minister or the Undersecretary of the respective portfolio.