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To an extent, this is an oddity of the US system, where a lot of the civil service is run by appointees. In most modern parliamentary democracies, the civil service is largely static and non-appointed, and while the government can in principle get rid of, say, a permanent secretary, it's highly visible and would rarely be done. This tends to give long-term projects more inertia; if the government wants to kill one without considerable controversy, it really has to make a case for doing so.

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