The state government consists of a team of ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Together they form the cabinet which establishes guidelines for state policy, allocates tasks among the various ministries, and passes draft statutes which come before the Landtag (Lower Saxony parliament) where they are put to the vote.
In the words of Lower Saxony's constitution, the state government "exercises executive authority". Its power is, however, restricted; this is ensured both by policy requirements dictated by Berlin and Brussels and, not least, by the constitution itself. The state government's primary duties include developing, and drafting legislation on, policy for schools and higher education, art and culture; it draws up codes of practice for the police force and guidelines on domestic security. Lower Saxony's Landtag holds a secret ballot to elect the Prime Minister, who then appoints the remaining members of the state government. Before the new administration can hold its office, it must be ratified by the Landtag.