State Departments

Vatican City State is governed as an absolute monarchy. The Head of State is the Pope who holds full legislative, executive and judicial powers.
During a sede vacante (between the death of a Pope and the election of his successor), these powers  are exercised by the College of Cardinals.
The Pope is elected by the Cardinals who are under eighty years of age. He becomes Sovereign of Vatican City State the moment he accepts his election as Pope.

Legislative and Executive Bodies

Legislative acts are carried out by the Pope and, in his name, by the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State which also promulgates general instructions and regulations. Both are published in a special supplement of the Acta Apostolicae Sediswhich is the official bulletin of the Holy See.
The exercise of executive government is entrusted to the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State who, in this context, assumes the title of President of the Governorate.
The closest collaborators of the President are the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General.
The Administration and Central Offices of the Governorate answer to the President.
In writing legislation and dealing with other important issues, the Pontifical Commission and the President of the Governorate can avail themselves of the assistance of the General Councillor and of the State Council.

Judicial Bodies

Legislation (n° CXIX) enacted on November 21st 1987 vests judicial authority in a Judge, a Tribunal, an Appeals Court and a Supreme Court, which exercise their authority in the name of the Pope.

Specific responsibilities are established by the codes of civil and penal procedures currently in force in Vatican City.

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