Ministers are artifical intelligence (AI) bots that work in the government to handle tasks for the player. Diplomacy, tax rates, military maneuvers, and more can all be handled by ministers, allowing the player to choose how much micromanagement they want. Ministers are appointed as the heads of your government's five departments: Operations, Defense, State, Treasury, Commerce, and Interior. They are chosen from a pool of 36 candidates, twelve of each political ideology, Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal. It is also possible to assign the same minister to multiple posts, though this will reduce how quickly ministers respond to new information.
A ministers competence is determined by their ratings such as General IQ, Political IQ etc., and their methods by their political ideology. Ministers will make decisions that best fit the priorities you assign them. Chosing a minister with a better IQ for a given department can greatly affect the performance of a department, although IQs secondary to the chosen department come into play as well. As an example, a finance minister with military experience may be less likely to ask for a military budget cut, and a charismatic one will be able to make changes that appear more suitable to the masses. Be warned that high IQs can be curse as well as a blessing - while intelligent Ministers make more informed decisions, they also take more risks and make more decisions in general, making them ill-suited for the "hands off" approach.
Ministers operate according to their political stance when not following assigned priorities. For example, a Liberal minister Assigned to the Interior Department may choose to improve social spending above all, while one of a Conservative slant may focus on research investment, and a Liberal minister of the Finance Department may cut taxes for low and mid income and raise corporate taxes while a Conservative may do the exact opposite. Additionally, Liberal Ministers tend to spend more on the Social Program aspects of their department and try to balance the budget while Conservative Ministers tend to minimize gov't spending and taxation and be less wary of deficit spending/
Assigning Ministers of the political leaning the player is looking for will increase the probability of the minister making decisions along the lines the player is looking for. You can read more on priorities and ministers' concerns at Minister priorities.
Removing from Duty
(SR2010 only) If you are unhappy with a Minister's overall performance, you can have them replaced, although it may cause a loss of domestic or military approval, especially if they possess a high public opinion. If less drastic measure are sought, a minister can be prevented from interfering with a control or unit by using the lock icon.