Lieutenant governor

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A Lieutenant Governor is a government official who is the subordinate or deputy of a Governor or Governor-General.



In Australia, the Lieutenant Governor is the subordinate of the Governor of a state, who serves as Administrator, or acting Governor, in case of illness or disability of the Governor. In many states this role is played by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The state Lieutenant Governors have no powers but stand ready to take up the Governor's role.

While Australia was a collection of colonies of Britain, lieutenant-governors ran Australian colonies that were initially subordinate to the colony of New South Wales, such as Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) or the Bay of Islands (New Zealand).


In Canada, the Lieutenant Governor is the representative of the Queen within a province, much as the Governor General is to the federal Government. Rather than lieutenant governors, the heads of state of Canada's three territories are representatives of the federal government (not the Queen directly) termed Commissioners.

Lieutenant Governors are nominally appointed by the Governor General but in practice are chosen by the Prime Minister of Canada usually in consultation with that province's respective premier. In practice Lieutenant Governors are often retired "elder statesmen" from the party of the Prime Minister. The salary of the Lieutenant Governors is paid for by the federal government rather than by the provincial government.

The difference in terminology between the Australian state Governors and the Canadian provincial Lieutenant Governors is significant constitutionally. In the Australian case, the Governor nominally derives power directly from the monarch and is in practice nominated by the Premier of a state. In the Canadian case, the Lieutenant Governor nominally is appointed by the Governor-General and in practice is named by the federal Prime Minister.

It has been observed that Canadian Lieutenant Governorships are often used to promote women and minorities into a prominent position. Five of Canada's ten current Lieutenant Governors and one of the three territorial Commissioners are women. There has been one black and several aboriginal Lieutenant Governors. The current Lieutenant Governor of Quebec uses a wheelchair. The current Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia is Jewish. The current Lieutenant Governor of Alberta is a Chinese-Canadian.

Like similar officials, Lieutenant Governors hold considerable reserve powers which are not normally used. One interesting constitutional question is the role of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec in the hypothetical case of the Quebec National Assembly voting to unilaterally secede. Some have argued that in this situation, the Lieutenant Governor not only could refuse Royal Assent, but would be duty bound to do so.

See lieutenant governors of:

Alberta - British Columbia - Manitoba - New Brunswick - Newfoundland and Labrador - Nova Scotia - Ontario - Prince Edward Island - Quebec - Saskatchewan - Northwest Territories

New Zealand

The only person to have held the rank of Lieutenant Governor of New Zealand was Captain William Hobson, RN from 1839 - 1841, during which time the New Zealand colony was a dependency of the colony of New South Wales, governed at that time by Sir George Gipps. When New Zealand was designated a crown colony in 1841, Hobson was raised to the rank of Governor, which he held until his death the following year.

Channel Islands and Isle of Man

In the British Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the Lieutenant Governor is the Queen's representative, but the post is largely ceremonial, with executive power remaining with each Island's elected administration. In the Isle of Man, the Lieutenant Governor was until 1980 the presiding officer of the Legislative Council and of Tynwald Court (the Legislative Council and the House of Keys in joint session), but both roles have been transferred to the President of Tynwald. Now, the Lieutenant Governor only presides once a year on Tynwald Day.

See also List of Lieutenant Governors of the Isle of Man, List of Lieutenant Governors of Jersey, List of Lieutenant Governors of the Guernsey

United States

In the United States, this office is usually the second-highest executive office in a state and is nominally subordinate to the Governor. The procedure for election of Lieutenant Governor varies from state to state with some states having the Governor and Lieutenant Governor elected as running mates on a joint ticket, while in others the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor run separately, sometimes in different election cycles. The latter can cause the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be from different parties and bitter political rivals. The office of Lieutenant Governor existed in all of the 17th- and 18th-century British colonies that later became the initial thirteen United States of America. The defining difference between the Lieutenant Governor and the Royal Governor, was that the Lieutenant Governor would be required to live in the colony which he was appointed to. Also, the Royal Governor would be paid directly by the crown, where as the Lieutenant Governor would be paid by the colonial treasury.

In the U.S., the duties of a Lieutenant Governor include succeeding Governors who die or resign. In most states, the Lieutenant Governor then becomes Governor, with the title and its associated salary, office, and perks. In a few states, like Massachusetts, the Lieutenant Governor instead becomes "Acting Governor" until a new Governor can be elected.

In some states the Lieutenant Governor is the chairman of the upper house of the legislature. In the state of Texas, the Lieutenant Governor, elected separately from the Governor, chairs the state senate and by convention and legislative rule has a great deal more influence on the legislation than the Governor. Thus, when a Lieutenant Governor of Texas becomes Governor, they assume a higher office, but lose some of their previous authority. In the state of Tennessee, the Lieutenant Governor is chosen by the state Senate. John S. Wilder was elected to that post in 1971, which he still holds. As of 2004, he is both the longest-serving and oldest Lieutenant Governor in the United States.

Some states, such as New Jersey and Maine, do not have a Lieutenant Governor. In both states the President of the state Senate assumes the office of Governor upon a vacancy. In November 2005, New Jersey voters will decide on a constitutional admendment to create the office.

Arizona, New Hampshire, Oregon, West Virginia and Wyoming also do not have Lieutenant Governors.

See also

es:Teniente Gobernador


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