At a Glance

• Government restructuring
• Five special municipalities
• Clean,efficient government

The central government of the Republic of China is responsi-ble for ensuring the overall well-being of the nation, includ-ing its prosperity and security as well as educational opportunity for all citizens.

Recent major changes in government include measures to streamline the central government’s executive branch, whereby the number of ministries and agencies will be reduced from 37 to 29. The revamped structure will include six new ministries—Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Environ-ment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Sci-ence and Technology.

At the local level, three new special municipalities—New Taipei City, Taichung City and Tainan City were formed in December 2010 with the aim of more effectively and equitably utilizing public resources.


Central Government

The central government consists of the Office of the President and five branches, or yuans—the Executive Yuan, the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan 司法院, the Examination Yuan 考試院and the Control Yuan.



The president of the ROC is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces (see Chapter 7, “National Defense”). As head of state, the president represents the nation in foreign relations and at state functions, and may conclude international agreements. The president is further empowered by the Constitution to appoint and remove top civil and military officials; promulgate laws; dissolve the Legislative Yuan in the event it dismisses the premier through a vote of no con-fidence; help resolve disputes between branches of the central government; and issue emergency decrees in response to national security threats or other crises.

With respect to the last point, emer-gency decrees must be ratified by the Leg-islative Yuan within 10 days of issuance. Should the Legislative Yuan withhold ratification, emergency decrees are im-mediately annulled. In the event disagree-ments arise between the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan, for example, the president of the ROC may call a meeting of the presidents of the two branches—the premier and the legislative speaker—to work out a solution.

Under the direct administrative juris-diction of the Office of the President are Academia Sinica 中央研究院, Academia Historica 國史館and the National Se-curity Council 國家安全會議. Academia Sinica scholars are widely reputed as be-ing among the nation’s top researchers in many disciplines in both the physical and social sciences. Academia Historica is the custodian of the national archives and other important historical items. And the National Security Council is charged with assisting the president in addressing issues that concern the nation’s critical interests (see Chapter 7, “National Defense”).The president and the vice president are elected as a ticket and win office by receiving a plurality of the popular vote. Their term of office is four years, and they may be re-elected to serve one con-secutive term.

The ROC is sometimes described as having a semi-presidential system because the president does not exercise direct administrative authority over the executive branch. Nevertheless, the presi-dent exerts considerable influence over the operations of the various branches of the central government through his power to appoint the premier and other top of-ficials. As the president’s appointment of the premier does not require confirmation by the Legislative Yuan, the premier’s policy-making normally adheres closely to guidelines laid out by the president.


Executive Yuan

The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the ROC government, headed by the premier. The premier is directly appointed by the president, while other members of the Executive Yuan Council, or Cabinet—comprising the vice premier, ministers, chairpersons of commissions and ministers without portfolio—are appointed by the president on recommendation of the premier. In addition to supervising the subordinate organs of the Executive Yuan, the premier explains administrative poli-cies and reports to the Legislative Yuan and responds, either orally or in writing, to the interpellations of legislators. For laws to take effect after enactment by the Leg-islative Yuan, they must be promulgated by the president and countersigned by the premier. In the event of vacancies in both the presidency and the vice presidency, the premier performs the duties of the presi-dent for up to three months.

Currently, there are eight ministries and 29 other Cabinet-level organizations under the Executive Yuan. To streamline the central government and improve its effectiveness, while at the same time en-hancing flexibility within its departments, the Cabinet proposed several government-restructuring bills to the Legislative Yuan, which were enacted and promulgated in early 2010. Among them are amendments to the Basic Code Governing Central Ad-ministrative Agencies Organizations 中央行政機關組織基準法and the Organizational Act of the Executive Yuan 行政院組織法. In addition, the Central Government Agency Personnel Quota Act 中央行政機關總員額法and the Provisional Act for Adjustment of Functions and Organizations of the Ex-ecutive Yuan 行政院功能業務與組織調整暫行條例have come into force.