The Constitution of India states India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democraticrepublic. India is a federal republic, with a bicameral parliament operating under aWestminster-style parliamentary system. It has a three branch system of governanceconsisting of the legislature, executive and judiciary.The President, who is the head of state, has a largely ceremonial role. His roles includeinterpreting the constitution, signing laws into action, and issuing pardons. He is also theCommander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President and Vice-President are electedindirectly by an electoral college for five-year terms. The Prime Minister is the head ofgovernment and has most of the executive powers. He (or she) is designated bylegislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. Theconstitution does not provide for a post of Deputy Prime Minister, but this option hasbeen exercised from time to time.The legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament which consists of the upper houseknown as the Rajya Sabha, or Council of States, the lower house known as the LokSabha, or House of the People, and the President. The 245-member Rajya Sabha ischosen indirectly through an electoral college and has a staggered six year term. The552-member Lok Sabha is elected directly for a five year term, and is the determinativeconstituent of political power and government formation. Any Indian citizen above theage of eighteen is allowed to vote.The executive arm consists of the President, Vice-President and the Council ofMinisters (the Cabinet) headed by the Prime Minister. Any minister holding a portfoliomust be a member of either house of parliament. In Indias parliamentary system, theexecutive is subordinate to the legislature.Indias independent judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, headed by the ChiefJustice of India. The Supreme Court has both, original jurisdiction over disputesbetween states and the Centre, and appellate jurisdiction over the High Courts of India.There are eighteen appellate High Courts, having jurisdiction over a large state or agroup of states. Each of these states has a tiered system of lower courts. A conflictbetween the legislature and the judiciary is referred to by the President. TheConstitution also provides for independent organizations such as the ElectionCommission of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the AttorneyGeneral of India.