The Constitution defines the Republic of Cyprus as an independent sovereign republic with a presidential system. It provides for the separation of powers, where the executive power is exercised by the President and the Council of ministers, the legislative power is exercised by the House of Representatives and the Justice is administered by the Supreme Court and subordinate courts. In addition to provisions for separate powers and competences, various incompatibilities clauses enshrined in the Constitution that do not allow the simultaneous holding or occupying by one person of posts and offices aim among others at further ensuring this separation of powers.

The executive power is exercised by President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers, composed of ten ministers (art. 46). Following the transfer of the powers of the Greek Communal Chamber in 1965, an eleventh ministry was established, of Education – which later became ‘of Education and Culture’. Given that article 46 is designated as one of the fundamental articles of the Constitution (see Appendix III of the Constitution /art. 182), the number of ministries has remained so far unchanged.

While the President is assigned with specific executive powers, has exclusive or veto powers on some matters and is also designating or terminating the appointment of ministers, it is the Council of ministers and line ministers that are mainly invested with executive power. Art. 54 provides that with the exception of powers expressly reserved to the President, the Council of Ministers ‘shall exercise executive power in all matters’ … including (a) the general direction and control of the government of the Republic and the direction of general policy; […] (d) the coordination and supervision of all public services; (e) the supervision and disposition of property belonging to the Republic …(f) Consideration of bills… (g) making of any order or regulation for the carrying into effect of any law… (h) consideration of the Budget

In addition, a line minister, as head of his ministry and subject to executive power expressly reserved to the President has power on ‘the execution of laws relating to‘ and ‘the administration of all matters and affairs usually falling within the domain of his ministry‘.

It is noteworthy that the President cannot hold a ministerial portfolio (art. 41); also, while he sets the agenda and convenes the meetings of the Council of Ministers and takes part in the discussions, the President has no right to vote (art. 48).

Following the transfer of powers of the Greek Communal Chamber to the ministry of Education, legislative power is solely exercised by the House of Representatives which must be composed of 50 deputies at a ratio of 70% Greek and 30% Turkish members. Since the Constitution allows a change of that number by law provided that the ratio 70/30 is respected, the House passed a resolution in 1985 for the increase of the total number of representatives to 80, that is 56 for the Greek community and 24 for the Turkish community (the latter remaining vacant).

Judicial power lies with the Supreme Constitutional Court (art. 133-151) and the High Court (art. 152-164). These powers were transferred to the Supreme Court, reducing thus the levels of administrating justice to mainly two; both constitutional and revision matters /disputes (original and revision jurisdiction) are decided by the Supreme Court, while trial courts administer first level justice. The heavy load of work of the Supreme Court in recent years, resulting in long delays in decision-making, led to the creation of the Administrative Court in 2015, to decide on matters pertaining to recourses against decisions by /acts / omissions of the administration.