The administration of the Tyrol is run by the Government, which comprises the Governor, two Deputy Governors and up to five Members. In keeping with the principle of the division of power that is basic to modern democracies, the Government is responsible for the administration while the Parliament (Tiroler Landtag) is the legislative body.
The various Government portfolios define which aspects of the Tyrolean administration are assigned to which Members of the Regional Government. Only decisions on very important issues must be taken by the Regional Government acting as one body. The remaining issues are dealt with independently by the relevant Government Member (departmental or ministerial system). The Tyrolean Regional Government usually meets weekly in closed session. The Governor chairs the cabinet meetings and represents the Tyrol in Austria and abroad.
The original proportional system of government attracted criticism from some quarters and has been replaced by a majority system, which was applied for the first time following the elections held on 7 March 1999. Previously, the Members of the Tyrolean Regional Government were appointed on the basis of the relative strength of the parties in the Parliament.
With the majority system, no party can be sure of being part of the Government without an absolute majority. At the same time, minority rights were strengthened in the Tyrolean Regional Parliament and access facilitated to direct forms of democracy such as plebiscites, referendums and petitions.
The Government is elected by the Parliament in a single ballot. The Members of the Government must be eligible for election to Parliament but do not have to have a seat in it.
The leading candidate for the party that wins the biggest share of the vote in a regional election invites the other groups to enter into negotiations on the formation of a new Government. Every party in Parliament has the right to propose candidates for election to the Government but the proposal must be supported by a certain number of Members of Parliament. After the election of the Tyrolean Regional Government, the Governor presents his Government policy statement to Parliament.
The Tyrolean Government takes its decisions unanimously. A quorum of at least half the Members is required, and this must include the Governor or one of the deputies. Abstentions are permitted. Members of the Government who have been elected to Parliament must give up their seat while serving in the Government.