Heads of the government:
Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is often differentiated from the term "head of state" (as in article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 1 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents and the United Nations protocol list), as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.
The authority of a head of government, such as a president, chancellor, or prime minister and the relationship between that position and other state institutions, such as the relation between the head of state and of the legislature, varies greatly among sovereign states, depending largely on the particular system of the government that has been chosen, won, or evolved over time.
In parliamentary systems, including constitutional monarchies, the head of government is the de facto political leader of the government, and is answerable to one chamber or the entire legislature. Although there is often a formal reporting relationship to a head of state, the latter usually acts as a figurehead who may take the role of chief executive on limited occasions, either when receiving constitutional advice from the head of government or under specific provisions in a constitution.
In presidential republics or in absolute monarchies, the head of state is also usually the head of government. The relationship between that leader and the government, however, can vary greatly, ranging from separation of powers to autocracy, according to the constitution (or other basic laws) of the particular state.
In semi-presidential systems, the head of government may answer to both the head of state and the legislature, with the specifics provided by each country's constitution. A modern example is the present French government, which originated as the French Fifth Republic in 1958. In France, the president, the head of state, appoints the prime minister, who is the head of government. However, the president must choose someone who can act effectively as an executive, but who also enjoys the support of the France's legislature, the National Assembly, in order to be able to pass legislation. In some cases, the head of state may represent one political party but the majority in the National Assembly is of a different party. Given that the majority party has greater control over state funding and primary legislation, the president is in effect forced to choose a prime minister from the opposition party in order to ensure an effective, functioning legislature. In this case, known as cohabitation, the prime minister, along with the cabinet, controls domestic policy, with the president's influence largely restricted to foreign affairs.
In directorial systems, the executive responsibilities of the head of government are spread among a group of people. A prominent example is the Swiss Federal Council, where each member of the council heads a department and also votes on proposals relating to all departments.
A common title for many heads of government is prime minister. This is used as a formal title in many states, but also informally a generic term to describe whichever office is considered the principal minister under an otherwise styled head of state, as minister — Latin for servants or subordinates — is a common title for members of a government (but many other titles are in use, e.g. chancellor and secretary of state). Formally the head of state can also be the head of government as well (ex officio or by ad hoc cumulation, such as a ruling monarch exercising all powers himself) but otherwise has formal precedence over the Head of Government and other ministers, whether he is their actual political superior (ruling monarch, executive president) or rather theoretical or ceremonial in character (constitutional monarch, non-executive president). Various constitutions use different titles, and even the same title can have various multiple meanings, depending on the constitutional order and political system of the state in question.
In addition to prime minister, titles used for the democratic model, where there is an elected legislative body checking the Head of government, include the following. Some of these titles relate to governments below the national level (e.g., states or provinces).
In a broader sense, a head of government can be used loosely when referring to various comparable positions under a dominant head of state (especially is the case of ancient or feudal eras, so the term "head of government", in this case, could be considered a contradiction in terms). In this case, the prime minister serves at the pleasure of the monarch and holds no more power than the monarch allows. Some such titles are diwan, mahamantri, pradhan, wasir or vizier.
However, just because the head of state is the de jure dominant position does not mean that he/she will not always be the de facto political leader. A skilled head of government like 19th-century German statesman Otto von Bismarck, Minister President of Prussia and later Chancellor of Germany under Emperor/King Wilhelm I, serves as an example showing that possession of formal powers does not equal political influence.
In some cases, the head of state is a figurehead whilst the head of the government leads the ruling party. In some cases a head of government may even pass on the title in hereditary fashion. Such titles include the following:
In some models the head of state and head of government are one and the same. These include:
An alternative formula is a single chief political body (e.g., presidium) which collectively leads the government and provides (e.g. by turns) the ceremonial Head of state
See Head of state for further explanation of these cases.
In parliamentary systems, government functions along the following lines:
All of these requirements directly impact the Head of government's role. Consequently, they often play a 'day to day' role in parliament, answering questions and defending the government on the 'floor of the House', while in semi-presidential systems they may not be required to play as much of a role in the functioning of parliament.
In many countries, the Head of government is commissioned by the Head of state to form a government, on the basis of the strength of party support in the lower house, in some other states directly elected by parliament. Many parliamentary systems require ministers to serve in parliament, while others ban ministers from sitting in parliament; they must resign on becoming ministers.
Heads of government are typically removed from power in a parliamentary system by
Constitutions differ in the range and scope of powers granted to the head of government. Some older constitutions; for example, Australia's 1900 text, and Belgium's 1830 text; do not mention their prime ministerial offices at all, the offices became a de facto political reality without a formal constitutional status. Some constitutions make a Prime Minister primus inter pares (first among equals) and that remains the practical reality for the Prime Minister of Belgium and the Prime Minister of Finland. Other states however, make their head of government a central and dominant figure within the cabinet system; Ireland's Taoiseach, for example, alone can decide when to seek a parliamentary dissolution, in contrast to other countries where this is a cabinet decision, with the Prime Minister just one member voting on the suggestion. In Israel, while the Government is nominally a collegiate body with a primus inter pares role for the Prime Minister, the Israeli Prime Minister the dominant figure in the executive branch in practice. The Prime Minister of Sweden, under the 1974 Instrument of Government, is a constitutional office with all key executive powers at his disposal; either directly, or indirectly through the collegial Government; whose members are all appointed and dismissed at the Prime Minister's sole discretion.
Under the unwritten British constitution, the Prime Minister's role has evolved, based often on the individual's personal appeal and strength of character, as contrasted between, for example, Winston Churchill as against Clement Attlee, Margaret Thatcher as against John Major. It is alleged that the increased personalisation of leadership in a number of states has led to heads of government becoming themselves "semi-presidential" figures, due in part to media coverage of politics that focuses on the leader and his or her mandate, rather than on parliament; and to the increasing centralisation of power in the hands of the head of government. Such allegations have been made against two recent British Prime ministers; Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. They were also made against Italian prime ministers Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Renzi, Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Federal Chancellor of West Germany (later all of Germany), Helmut Kohl, when in power.
The Head of government is often provided with an official residence, often in the same fashion as heads of state often are. The name of the residence is often used as a metonym or alternate title for 'the government' when the office is politically the highest, e.g. in the UK "Downing Street announced today…"
Well-known official residences of heads of government include:
Similarly, heads of government of (con)federal entities below the level of the sovereign state (often without an actual head of state, at least under international law) may also be given an official residence, sometimes used as an opportunity to display aspirations of statehood:
Usually, the residence of the heads of government is not as prestigious and grand as that of the head of state, even if the head of state only performs ceremonial duties. Even the formal representative of the head of state, such as a governor-general, may well be housed in a grander, palace-type residence. However, this is not the case when both positions are combined into one:
As of mid-2011:
A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called Cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.
In some countries, particularly those that use a parliamentary system (e.g., the UK), the Cabinet collectively decides the government's direction, especially in regard to legislation passed by the parliament. In countries with a presidential system, such as the United States, the Cabinet does not function as a collective legislative influence; rather, their primary role is as an official advisory council to the head of government. In this way, the President obtains opinions and advice relating to forthcoming decisions. Legally, under both types of system, the Westminster variant of a parliamentary system and the presidential system, the Cabinet "advises" the Head of State: the difference is that, in a parliamentary system, the monarch, viceroy or ceremonial president will almost always follow this advice, whereas in a presidential system, a president who is also head of government and political leader may depart from the Cabinet's advice if they do not agree with it. In practice, in nearly all parliamentary democracies that do not follow the Westminster system, and in three countries that do (Japan, Ireland, and Israel), very often the Cabinet does not "advise" the Head of State as they play only a ceremonial role. Instead, it is usually the head of government (usually called Prime Minister) who holds all means of power in their hands (e.g. in Germany, Sweden, etc.) and to whom the Cabinet reports.
The second role of cabinet officials is to administer executive branches, government agencies, or departments. In the United States federal government, these are the federal executive departments. Cabinets are also important originators for legislation. Cabinets and ministers are usually in charge of the preparation of proposed legislation in the ministries before it is passed to the parliament. Thus, often the majority of new legislation actually originates from the cabinet and its ministries.Executive (government)
The executive is the organ exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.
In political systems based on the principle of separation of powers, authority is distributed among several branches (executive, legislative, judicial)—an attempt to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a small group of people. In such a system, the executive does not pass laws (the role of the legislature) or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). Instead, the executive enforces the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. The executive can be the source of certain types of law, such as a decree or executive order. Executive bureaucracies are commonly the source of regulations.
In the Westminster political system, the principle of separation of powers is not as entrenched. Members of the executive, called ministers, are also members of the legislature, and hence play an important part in both the writing and enforcing of law.
In this context, the executive consists of a leader(s) of an office or multiple offices. Specifically, the top leadership roles of the executive branch may include:
head of state – often the supreme leader, the president or monarch, the chief public representative and living symbol of national unity.
head of government – often the de facto leader, prime minister, overseeing the administration of all affairs of state.
defence minister – overseeing the armed forces, determining military policy and managing external safety.
interior minister – overseeing the police forces, enforcing the law and managing internal safety.
foreign minister – overseeing the diplomatic service, determining foreign policy and managing foreign relations.
finance minister – overseeing the treasury, determining fiscal policy and managing national budget.
justice minister – overseeing criminal prosecutions, corrections, enforcement of court orders.In a presidential system, the leader of the executive is both the head of state and head of government. In a parliamentary system, a cabinet minister responsible to the legislature is the head of government, while the head of state is usually a largely ceremonial monarch or president.Head of Government of Tunisia
This page lists the holders of the office of Head of the Government of Tunisia (French: chef du gouvernement tunisien). The post was called Prime Minister until the Revolution, though that title is still used by many sources outside Tunisia. The office was created in May 1922. Mustapha Dinguizli was thus Tunisia's first Prime Minister in the modern sense. Prior to that, Tunisia had traditional Muslim-style viziers.Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern (; born 26 July 1980) is a New Zealand politician serving as the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand since 26 October 2017. She has also served as the Leader of the Labour Party since 1 August 2017. Ardern has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mount Albert electorate since 8 March 2017; she was first elected to the House of Representatives as a list MP at the 2008 general election.After graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, Ardern began her career working as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark. She later worked in the United Kingdom as a policy advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In 2008, she was elected President of the International Union of Socialist Youth.Ardern became a list MP in 2008, a position she held for almost ten years until her election to the Mount Albert electorate in the 2017 by-election, held on 25 February. She was unanimously elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party on 1 March 2017, following the resignation of Annette King. Ardern became Leader of the Labour Party on 1 August 2017, after Andrew Little resigned from the position following a historically low poll result for the party. She is credited with increasing her party's rating in opinion polls. In the general election of 23 September 2017, the Labour Party won 46 seats (a net gain of 14), putting it behind the National Party, which won 56 seats. After negotiations with National and Labour, the New Zealand First party chose to enter into a minority coalition government with Labour, supported by the Greens, with Ardern as Prime Minister.Ideologically, Ardern describes herself as a social democrat and a progressive. She is the world's youngest female head of government, having taken office at age 37. Ardern became the world's second elected head of government to give birth while in office when her daughter was born on 21 June 2018.List of current heads of state and government
This is a list of current heads of state and heads of government. In some cases, mainly in presidential systems, there is only one leader being both head of state and head of government. In other cases, mainly in semi-presidential and parliamentary systems, the head of state and the head of government are different people. In semi-presidential and parliamentary systems, the head of government role (i.e. executive branch) is fulfilled by both the listed head of government and the head of state.
The list includes the names of recently elected or appointed heads of state and government who will take office on an appointed date, as presidents-elect and prime ministers-designate, and those leading a government in exile if internationally recognised.List of elected and appointed female heads of state and government
Following is a list of women who have been elected head of state or government of their respective countries since the Interwar period (1918-1939), and below that a list of appointed heads of state. The first list includes female presidents who are heads of state and may also be heads of government, as well as female heads of government who are not concurrently head of state, such as prime ministers. The list does not include female monarchs who are head of state.To date, the country with most female heads of state is San Marino (16, with three of them serving two non-consecutive terms). The countries with the next highest number of female heads of state are the now non-existent East Germany with fourteen, the former Soviet Union with ten and Switzerland with nine. All four of these countries have a collective head of state (or previously had at some point during their existence), with seven members in the case of Switzerland, two in the case of San Marino, 38 in the case of the former Soviet Union (37 until 1977) and a varying number (but usually around 24) in the case of the former East Germany. Among countries with only a single person as head of state, Haiti and Peru have had the most female heads of state or government, with four each.
Also included in the first list are twelve women who have held an office styled either as Prime Minister or State Counsellor during periods when the country had an executive presidency and the Prime Minister (or a similar position) was not legally and constitutionally the head of government, but rather a deputy to the president who was the combined head of state and head of government. These countries are the Central African Republic (1960–1976), Guyana (since 1980), Sri Lanka (since 1978), Namibia (since 1990), South Korea (since 1987), Peru (since 1993), and Myanmar (since 2016). Such leaders are marked by an asterisk.List of heads of government of Liechtenstein
This is a list of the Regierungschef (Heads of Government or Prime Ministers) of Liechtenstein.
The current Regierungschef is Adrian Hasler, since 27 March 2013.Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic is a republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliament). There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state, with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies (however in some countries the head of state, regardless of whether the country's system is a parliamentary republic or a constitutional monarchy, has 'reserve powers' given to use at their discretion in order to act as a non-partisan 'referee' of the political process and ensure the nation's constitution is upheld). Some have combined the roles of head of state and head of government, much like presidential systems, but with a dependency upon parliamentary power.
For the first case mentioned above, the form of executive-branch arrangement is distinct from most other government and semi-presidential republics that separate the head of state (usually designated as the "president") from the head of government (usually designated as "prime minister", "premier" or "chancellor") and subject the latter to the confidence of parliament and a lenient tenure in office while the head of state lacks dependency and investing either office with the majority of executive power.Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.
Countries with parliamentary democracies may be constitutional monarchies, where a monarch is the head of state while the head of government is almost always a member of parliament (such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Japan), or parliamentary republics, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state while the head of government is regularly from the legislature (such as Ireland, Germany, India and Italy). In a few parliamentary republics, such as Botswana, South Africa, and Suriname, among some others, the head of government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to parliament. In bicameral parliaments, the head of government is generally, though not always, a member of the lower house.
Parliamentarianism is the dominant form of government in Europe, with 32 of its 50 sovereign states being parliamentarian. It is also common in the Caribbean, being the form of government of 10 of its 13 island states, and in Oceania. Elsewhere in the world, parliamentary countries are less common, but they are distributed through all continents, most often in former colonies of the British Empire.Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, sometimes also referred to informally as the "Prime Minister", is the Leader of the State Council of China (constitutionally synonymous with the "Central People's Government" since 1954), who is the head of government and holds the highest rank (Level 1) in the Civil Service. This position was originally known as Premier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government from 1949, (Chinese: 中央人民政府政務院總理) but changed to its current name in 1954.
The Premier is formally approved by the National People's Congress upon the nomination of the President. In practice, the candidate is chosen through an informal process within the Communist Party of China. Both the President and the Premier are selected once every five years. The premier is limited to two terms, but the president is not. The Premier has always been a member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.
The current Premier is Li Keqiang, who took office on 15 March 2013. He succeeded Wen Jiabao.President
The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states.
The functions exercised by a president vary according to the form of government. In parliamentary republics, they are limited to those of the head of state, and are thus largely ceremonial. In presidential and semi-presidential republics, the role of the president is more prominent, encompassing also (in most cases) the functions of the head of government. In authoritarian regimes, a dictator or leader of a one-party state may also be called a president.President of the United States
The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower. The role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president also leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP. The president possesses significant domestic and international hard and soft power.
Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government. It vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, and takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation. The power of the presidency has grown substantially since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole.Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term. This is the only federal election in the United States which is not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U.S. citizenship; at least thirty-five years of age; and residency in the United States for at least fourteen years. The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president.Donald Trump of New York is the 45th and current president of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2017.Presidential system
A presidential system is a democratic and republican system of government where a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state, which is called president.
In presidential countries, the executive is elected and is not responsible to the legislature, which cannot in normal circumstances dismiss it. Such dismissal is possible, however, in uncommon cases, often through impeachment.
The title "president" has persisted from a time when such person personally presided over the governing body, as with the President of the Continental Congress in the early United States, prior to the executive function being split into a separate branch of government.
A presidential system contrasts with a parliamentary system, where the head of government is elected to power through the legislative. There is also a hybrid system called semi-presidentialism.
Countries that feature a presidential or semi-presidential system of government are not the exclusive users of the title of president. Heads of state of parliamentary republics, largely ceremonial in most cases, are called presidents. Dictators or leaders of one-party states, popularly elected or not, are also often called presidents.
Presidentialism is the dominant form of government in the continental Americas, with 19 of its 23 sovereign states being presidential republics. It is also prevalent in Central and southern West Africa and in Central Asia.Prime Minister of Egypt
The Prime Minister of Egypt (Arabic: رئيس الوزراء المصري ,رئيس الحكومة) is the head of the Egyptian government.Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Māori: Te Pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.The Prime Minister (informally abbreviated to PM) ranks as the most senior government minister. He or she is responsible for chairing meetings of Cabinet; allocating posts to ministers within the government; acting as the spokesperson for the government; and providing advice to the sovereign or the sovereign's representative, the governor-general. He or she also has ministerial responsibility for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The office exists by a long-established convention, which originated in New Zealand's former colonial power, the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The convention stipulates that the governor-general must select as prime minister the person most likely to command the support, or confidence, of the House of Representatives. This individual is typically the parliamentary leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The prime minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their actions to the governor-general, to the House of Representatives, to their political party, and ultimately to the national electorate.
Originally the head of government was titled "colonial secretary" or "first minister". This was changed in 1869 to "premier". That title remained in use for more than 30 years, until Richard Seddon informally changed it to "prime minister" in 1901 during his tenure in the office. Following the declaration of New Zealand as a Dominion in 1907, the title of Prime Minister has been used exclusively in English. In Māori, the title pirimia, meaning "premier", continues to be used. New Zealand prime ministers are styled as "The Right Honourable", a privilege they retain for life.Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزِیرِ اعظم پاکِستان – Wazīr-ē-Āzam, Urdu pronunciation: [ʋəˈziːr-ˌeː ˈɑː.zəm]; lit. "Grand Vizier") is the head of government of Pakistan and designated as the "chief executive of the Republic".The Prime Minister leads the executive branch of the government, oversees the economic growth, leads the National Assembly, heads the Council of Common Interests as well as the Cabinet, and is vested with the command authority over the nuclear arsenals. This position places its holder in leadership of the nation and in control over all matters of internal and foreign policy. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the National Assembly and therefore is usually the leader of the majority party in the parliament. The Constitution of Pakistan vests the executive powers in the Prime Minister, who is responsible for appointing the Cabinet as well as running the executive branch, taking and authorising executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister.Constitutionally, the Prime Minister serves as the chief adviser to President of Pakistan on critical matters and plays an influential role in appointment in each branch of the military leadership as well as ensuring the control of the military through chairman joint chiefs. Powers of the Prime Minister have significantly grown with a delicate system of the check and balance by each branch. The position was absent during years of 1960–73, 1977–85 and 1999–2002 due to imposed martial law. In each of these periods, the military junta led by the President had the powers of the Prime Minister.Imran Khan has held the office of Prime Minister since 18 August 2018, following the outcome of nationwide general elections held on 25 July 2018.Prime Minister of the Netherlands
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Dutch: Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his quality of chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.Prime minister
A prime minister is the head of a cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. A prime minister is not a head of state or chief executive officer of their respective nation, rather they are a head of government, serving typically under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms.
In parliamentary systems fashioned after the Westminster system, the prime minister is the presiding and actual head of government and head of the executive branch. In such systems, the head of state or the head of state's official representative (often the monarch, president, or governor-general) usually holds a largely ceremonial position, although often with reserve powers.
In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime minister is the presiding member and chairman of the cabinet. In a minority of systems, notably in semi-presidential systems of government, a prime minister is the official who is appointed to manage the civil service and execute the directives of the head of state.
The prime minister is often, but not always, a member of the Legislature or the Lower House thereof and is expected with other ministers to ensure the passage of bills through the legislature. In some monarchies the monarch may also exercise executive powers (known as the royal prerogative) that are constitutionally vested in the crown and may be exercised without the approval of parliament.
As well as being head of government, a prime minister may have other roles or posts—the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, for example, is also First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Prime ministers may take other ministerial posts. For example, during the Second World War, Winston Churchill was also Minister of Defence (although there was then no Ministry of Defence) and in the current cabinet of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu also serves as Minister of Communications, Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation, Economy and Interior.Taoiseach
The Taoiseach ( (listen)) is the prime minister and head of government of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament), and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.
The word taoiseach means "chief" or "leader" in Irish and was adopted in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland as the title of the "head of the Government, or Prime Minister". Taoiseach is the official title of the head of government in both English and Irish, and is not used for other countries' prime ministers (who are referred to in Irish as Príomh Aire). The Irish form, An Taoiseach, is sometimes used in English instead of "the Taoiseach". Outside of Ireland, the Taoiseach is sometimes referred to as the Prime Minister of Ireland.Leo Varadkar TD is the current Taoiseach; he took office on 14 June 2017, following his election as leader of Fine Gael on 2 June 2017. Varadkar is the youngest Taoiseach in the history of the Irish state, having taken office at the age of 38; he is also the first openly LGBT person, and the first person of Indian descent, to lead the Irish government.
Titles used for heads of government