President of Trinidad and Tobago
|President of the
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
|Term length||Five years, renewable indefinitely|
|Inaugural holder||Sir Ellis Clarke
August 1, 1976
|Formation||Trinidad and Tobago Constitution
September 24, 1976
|Website||The Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Trinidad and Tobago
The President of Trinidad and Tobago is the head of state of Trinidad and Tobago and the commander-in-chief of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1976, before which the head of state was Queen Elizabeth II. The last Governor-General, Sir Ellis Clarke, was sworn in as the first President on August 1, 1976, under a transitional arrangement. He was formally chosen as President by an electoral college consisting of members of both houses of Parliament on September 24, 1976, which is now celebrated as Republic Day.
Under the 1976 Constitution, the President is the nominal source of executive power. Like the British Sovereign (and heads of state in other Westminster Systems), he or she "reigns but does not rule". In practice, executive authority is exercised by the Prime Minister and his or her Cabinet, on behalf of the President. The President appoints as Prime Minister the leader of the largest party in the House of Representatives, and also appoints members of the Senate on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The President must be at least 35 years old (although no President has been younger than 59), a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, and at the time of nomination must have been resident in the country for an unbroken period of ten years.