The president and vice-president are not elected by direct election. It is done by an electoral college. Each state directly elects as many electors as it has Congressmen. These electors – who compose the electoral college – vote for the president and the vice-president separately.
The president is elected in November but takes office in January of the following year. If the president dies in office, the vice-president succeeds him automatically.
The president carries out the laws but has a right of veto over Congress bills. He also chooses ambassadors, federal judges and members of his Cabinet (called Secretaries).
As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, he can order military operations and negotiate treaties.
He may also be impeached.
The House of Representatives: its 435 members are elected for a two years and the House is entirely renewed at the end of this term. Each state has representatives according to its population. The main role of the House is to make laws.
The Senate: Its members are elected for six years. One third of the Senate retires every two years. Each state has two Senators.
The Senate can inaugurate bills (except money bills) but the bills must be assented by both houses before being signed by the President.
It also approves all presidential appointments.
The states are ruled by a governor who is directly elected.
– the Republican Party – or Grand Old Party (GOP): it is rather conservative and its emblem is the elephant;
– the Democratic Party: it is left wing and is represented by a donkey.
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