Suppose, a country is facing deep-rooted economic mismanagement and has billions of dollars of external debts. The prime minister/president tried several local experts, both elected and technocrat, but they failed to deliver as expected.

The PM/president knows a country where a guy (say, Alexei Kudrin of Russia) became famous for single-handedly lifting a country's economy. He wants to put this guy in charge of the economy.

Can the PM/president borrow an expert from another country and put him in charge of a ministry?

  • 1
    If the person and/or country agrees I don’t see why not. Apr 27, 2021 at 19:47
  • 2
    This would be better suited to the Law SE. Apr 27, 2021 at 19:49
  • To be "in charge of a ministry" implies cabinet.
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 27, 2021 at 20:12
  • It depends on the country and its constitution. If you have a specific country in mind, please tag it in your question.
    – Joe C
    Apr 27, 2021 at 20:59
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    In many countries, a close adviser to the president/head of government might have more impact than a cabinet minister. That or even an advisory position outside of government would be a more natural fit for an outside expert like that.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 28, 2021 at 7:33

4 Answers 4


Perhaps. It wouldn't happen. The informal norms in favor of appointing only politicians as ministers is a strong one across these systems. They'd make someone like that an appointee or a consultant, rather than a minister. Milton Friedman did something similar once in Chile.


This will depend entirely on the law of the land in the given country. In the United States, for example, you can't serve in Congress or the Senate (our analog to a parliament) unless you've been a Citizen for 7+ years.

What's far more likely is that such outside experts are likely to be hired in a consulting role, or appointed to senior positions of certain institutions rather than a ministry itself.

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    Of course, in the U.S., ministers (i.e. executive branch department heads and their senior deputies) are not members of Congress. Congress is not our analog to parliament in this regard. The U.S. equivalent of "minsiters" are appointed by the President with Senate ratification and while they must swear an oath of office to the U.S. that could void a foreign citizenship in some cases, there is no residency requirement to be, for example, Secretary of Treasury.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 28, 2021 at 17:53
  • Fair cop. I was mostly reaching for the example of what a disqualification would look like, there. The honest answer to a question like this is "It depends." Apr 28, 2021 at 18:23
  • Perhaps the closest analogy would be whether a foriegner could be appointed as a cabinet member. There may be nothing legally preventing it, but it's politically unlikely. The Senate would never approve them.
    – Barmar
    May 1, 2021 at 17:31

As William Walker III pointed out in his answer, that depends very much on the laws of the country. Let me add some individual data points:

  • In the EU, citizens of other EU countries can run for certain elective public offices if they meet residency requirements. But then, the EU is more than just a free trade area.
  • To complicate things, cabinet-level appointments are not elective offices. In Germany, the citizenship requirement for cabinet officials seems to be not quite clear, but the assumption is that they must be qualified to stand for elections.

I think a good example is the Cioloş cabinet which was arguably entirely made out of technocrats.

A few of the members were working abroad (e.g. European Commission-related jobs) before accepting a ministry position, so technically speaking they came from another country to assume office.

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