The President of the Republic of Surea is, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Surea, chief executive of the government, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the head of state of the Republic of Surea. The President is directly elected to a five-year term with no possibility of re-election. If a presidential vacancy should occur, a successor must be elected within sixty days, during which time presidential duties are to be performed by the prime minister or other senior cabinet members in the order of priority as determined by law. While in office, the chief executive lives in Sunshuden Palace and is exempt from criminal liability except for insurrection or treason.
Since March 11, 2009, Marushi Ryongko has been the incumbent president.
Current presidential powers
The Republic of Surea is a Presidential Republic, semi-presidential system. Similar to the French President, the office of the Surean President is quite powerful. Although it is the Prime Minister of Surea and parliament that oversee much of the nation's actual lawmaking, the Surean President wields significant influence. The president holds the nation's most senior office, and outranks all other politicians.
The president's greatest power is his or her ability to choose the Prime Minister. However, since only the National Assembly of Surea has the power to dismiss the Prime Minister's government, the president is forced to name a prime minister who can command the support of a majority in the assembly.
- When the majority of the Assembly has opposite political views to that of the president, this leads to political cohabitation. In that case, the president's power is diminished, since much of the de facto power relies on a supportive prime minister and National Assembly, and is not directly attributed to the post of president.
- When the majority of the Assembly sides with him, the President can take a more active role and may, in effect, direct government policy. The prime minister is then the personal choice of the President, and can be easily replaced if the administration becomes unpopular.
Since the Fifth Republic, the mandate of the president and the National Assembly are 5 and 4 years respectively. Therefore, the likelihood of a "cohabitation" is higher.
Among the powers of the president:
- The president promulgates laws.
- The president has a very limited form of suspensive veto: when presented with a law, he or she can request another reading of it by Parliament, but only once per law.
- The president may also refer the law for review to the Constitutional Council prior to promulgation.
- The president may refer treaties or certain types of laws to popular referendum, within certain conditions, among them the agreement of the Prime minister or the parliament.
- The president is the leader of the executive branch of the government.
- The president is the Commander-in-Chief of the armies.
- The president may order the use of nuclear weapons.
- The president names the Prime minister but he cannot dismiss him. He names and dismisses the other ministers, with the agreement of the Prime minister.
- The president names most officials (with the assent of the cabinet).
- The president names certain members of the Constitutional Council.
- The president receives foreign ambassadors.
- The president may grant a pardon (but not an amnesty) to convicted criminals; the president can also lessen or suppress criminal sentences. This was of crucial importance when Surea still operated the death penalty: criminals sentenced to death would generally request that the president commute their sentence to life imprisonment.
Detailed constitutional powers
The constitutional attributions of the president are defined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Surea.
Criminal responsibility and impeachment
The President of the Republic enjoys immunity during his term: he cannot be requested to testify before any jurisdiction, he cannot be prosecuted, etc. However, the statute of limitation is suspended during his term, and enquiries and prosecutions can be restarted, at the latest one month after he left office.
The President is irresponsible for his actions in his official capacity, except for prosecution before the International Criminal Court and impeachment. Impeachment can be pronounced by the Constitutional Court, should the president have failed to discharge his duties in a way that evidently precludes the continuation of his term.
Succession and incapacity
Upon the death or resignation of the President, the Prime Minister acts as acting president. It is important to note that, in this situation, the Prime minister became an Acting President of the Republic; they do not become the new President of the Republic as elected and therefore do not have to resign from their position as Prime Minister.
The first round of a new presidential election must be organized no later than sixty days following the vacancy of the presidency. During this period of acting president is not allowed to dismiss the national assembly nor allowed to call for a referendum or initiate any constitutional changes.
If the President cannot attend meetings, including meetings of the Council of Ministers, he can ask the Prime Minister to attend in his stead (Constitution, article 71). This clause has been applied by presidents travelling abroad, ill, or undergoing surgery.
Pay and official residences
The President of the Republic is paid a salary according to a pay grade defined in comparison to the pay grades of the most seniors members of the Surean Civil Service. In addition he is paid a residence stipend of 3%, and a function stipend of 25% on top of the salary and residence indemnity. This gross salary and these indemnities are the same as those of the Prime Minister, and are 50% higher than the highest paid to other members of the government, which is itself defined as twice the average of the highest (pay grade G) and the lowest (pay grade A1) salaries. This amounts to a monthly pay of JUY 2,396,300, which fits the JUY 2,000,000 quoted to the press in early 2008. Starting from 1 July 2010, this amounts to a gross monthly pay of JUY 2,513,100.
The salary and the residence stipend are taxable for income tax.
The official residence and office of the president is the Sunshuden Palace in Konggei.
List of presidents
Living former presidents
As of 3 July 2010 three former presidents are alive:
- Bunreko Dagi
- Koshiko Fusotaka
- Hiro Lakaki