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A shadow cabinet is a term which applies in some parliamentary democracies based on the UK parliamentary tradition. It is a group of politicians who hold a political position in their party, but whose party is not in government (that is, an opposition party). A member of the shadow cabinet is a shadow minister. The leader of a shadow cabinet is called the Leader of the Opposition. The term is of United Kingdom origin, and is used by some members of the Commonwealth. Some elements are found in other democratic systems of government.
Each minister of a Cabinet has a corresponding shadow minister. The shadow minister may provide alternative policies to the minister in the government. The two of them may debate on issues relating to their area of jurisdiction. For example, the British "Shadow Secretary of State for Health" often replies to the Secretary of State for Health.
- "Shadow Cabinet: Glossary". UK Parliament. http://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/shadow-cabinet/. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Mary Durkin; Oonagh Gay (21 June 2006). "Her Majesty’s Opposition, SN/PC/3910". Commons Standard Notes. Library of the House of Commons, UK Parliament. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-03910.pdf. Retrieved 22 September 2012. "This note outlines the rights and privileges of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, or the Official Opposition, as the party with the second largest number of seats within the House of Commons is known."