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.
The term prime minister in its French form, premier ministre, is attested in 17th Century sources referring to Cardinal Richelieu after he was named to head the royal council in 1624. The title was however informal and used alongside the equally informal principal ministre d'État ("chief minister of the state") more as a job description. After 1661, Louis XIV and his descendants refused to allow one of their ministers to be more important than the others, so the term was not in use.
The term prime minister in the sense that we know it originated in the 18th century in the United Kingdom when members of parliament disparagingly used the title in reference to Sir Robert Walpole. During the whole of the 18th Century, Britain was involved in a prolonged conflict with France, periodically bursting into all-out war, and Britons took outspoken pride in their "Liberty" as contrasted to the "Tyranny" of French Absolute Monarchy; therefore, being implicitly compared with Richelieu was no compliment to Walpole. Over time, however, the title became honorific and remains so in the 21st century.
The monarchs of England and the United Kingdom had ministers in whom they placed special trust and who were regarded as the head of the government. Examples were Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII; William Cecil, Lord Burghley under Elizabeth I; Clarendon under Charles II and Godolphin under Queen Anne. These ministers held a variety of formal posts, but were commonly known as "the minister", the "chief minister", the "first minister" and finally the "prime minister".
The power of these ministers depended entirely on the personal favour of the monarch. Although managing the parliament was among the necessary skills of holding high office, they did not depend on a parliamentary majority for their power. Although there was a cabinet, it was appointed entirely by the monarch, and the monarch usually presided over its meetings.
When the monarch grew tired of a first minister, he or she could be dismissed, or worse: Cromwell was executed and Clarendon driven into exile when they lost favour. Kings sometimes divided power equally between two or more ministers to prevent one minister from becoming too powerful. Late in Anne's reign, for example, the Tory ministers Harley and Viscount Bolingbroke shared power.
In the mid 17th century, after the English Civil War (1642–1651), Parliament strengthened its position relative to the monarch then gained more power through the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and passage of the Bill of Rights in 1689. The monarch could no longer establish any law or impose any tax without its permission and thus the House of Commons became a part of the government. It is at this point that a modern style of prime minister begins to emerge.
A tipping point in the evolution of the prime ministership came with the death of Anne in 1714 and the accession of George I to the throne. George spoke no English, spent much of his time at his home in Hanover, and had neither knowledge of, nor interest in, the details of English government. In these circumstances it was inevitable that the king's first minister would become the de facto head of the government.
From 1721 this was the Whig politician Robert Walpole, who held office for twenty-one years. Walpole chaired cabinet meetings, appointed all the other ministers, dispensed the royal patronage and packed the House of Commons with his supporters. Under Walpole, the doctrine of cabinet solidarity developed. Walpole required that no minister other than himself have private dealings with the king, and also that when the cabinet had agreed on a policy, all ministers must defend it in public, or resign. As a later prime minister, Lord Melbourne, said, "It matters not what we say, gentlemen, so long as we all say the same thing."
Walpole always denied that he was "prime minister", and throughout the 18th century parliamentarians and legal scholars continued to deny that any such position was known to the Constitution. George II and George III made strenuous efforts to reclaim the personal power of the monarch, but the increasing complexity and expense of government meant that a minister who could command the loyalty of the Commons was increasingly necessary. The long tenure of the wartime prime minister William Pitt the Younger (1783–1801), combined with the mental illness of George III, consolidated the power of the post. The title was first referred to on government documents during the administration of Benjamin Disraeli but did not appear in the formal British Order of precedence until 1905.
The prestige of British institutions in the 19th century and the growth of the British Empire saw the British model of cabinet government, headed by a prime minister, widely copied, both in other European countries and in British colonial territories as they developed self-government. In some places alternative titles such as "premier", "chief minister", "first minister of state", "president of the council" or "chancellor" were adopted, but the essentials of the office were the same.
By the late 20th century, the majority of the world's countries had a prime minister or equivalent minister, holding office under either a constitutional monarchy or a ceremonial president. The main exceptions to this system have been the United States and the presidential republics in Latin America modelled on the U.S. system, in which the president directly exercises executive authority.
The post of prime minister may be encountered both in constitutional monarchies (such as Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Malaysia, Morocco, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom), and in parliamentary republics in which the head of state is an elected official (such as Finland, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia (1945-1959), Ireland, Pakistan, Portugal, Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey (1923-2018)). See also "First Minister", "Premier", "Chief Minister", "Chancellor", "Taoiseach", "Minister of State (Statsminister)", "President of the Government", "President of the Council of Minister" and "Secretary of State": alternative titles usually equivalent in meaning to, or translated as, "prime minister".
This contrasts with the presidential system, in which the president (or equivalent) is both the head of state and the head of the government. In some presidential and all semi-presidential systems, such as those of France, Russia or South Korea, the prime minister is an official generally appointed by the president but usually approved by the legislature and responsible for carrying out the directives of the president and managing the civil service. The head of government of the People's Republic of China is referred to as the Premier of the State Council and the premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is also appointed by the president, but requires no approval by the legislature.
Appointment of the prime minister of France requires no approval by the parliament either, but the parliament may force the resignation of the government. In these systems, it is possible for the president and the prime minister to be from different political parties if the legislature is controlled by a party different from that of the president. When it arises, such a state of affairs is usually referred to as (political) cohabitation.
In parliamentary systems a prime minister may enter into office by several means.
The position, power and status of prime ministers differ depending on the age of the constitution.
Canada's constitution, being a 'mixed' or hybrid constitution (a constitution that is partly formally codified and partly uncodified) originally did not make any reference whatsoever to a prime minister, with her or his specific duties and method of appointment instead dictated by "convention". In the Constitution Act, 1982, passing reference to a "Prime Minister of Canada" is added, though only regarding the composition of conferences of federal and provincial first ministers.
India's constitution (1950) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of India. In India, the Prime Ministerial candidate must be a member of parliament either Lok Sabha (Lower House) or Rajya Sabha (Upper House). No parliamentary vote takes place on who is forming a government.
The United Kingdom's constitution, being uncodified and largely unwritten, makes no mention of a prime minister. Though it had de facto existed for centuries, its first mention in official state documents did not occur until the first decade of the twentieth century. Accordingly, it is often said "not to exist", indeed there are several instances of parliament declaring this to be the case. The prime minister sits in the cabinet solely by virtue of occupying another office, either First Lord of the Treasury (office in commission), or more rarely Chancellor of the Exchequer (the last of whom was Balfour in 1905). However as the government will have to outline its legislative programme to parliament in, for example, the Speech from the Throne, the speech is sometimes used to test parliamentary support. A defeat of the Speech is taken to mean a loss of confidence and so requires either a new draft, resignation, or a request for a dissolution of parliament. Until the early 20th century governments when defeated in a general election remained in power until their Speech from the Throne was defeated and then resigned. No government has done so for one hundred years, though Edward Heath in 1974 did delay his resignation while he explored whether he could form a government with Liberal party support.
During the period between the time it is clear that the incumbent government has been defeated at a general election, and the actual swearing-in of the new prime minister by the monarch, governor-general, or president, that person is referred to as the "prime minister-elect" or "prime minister-designate". Neither term is strictly correct from a constitutional point of view, but they have wide acceptance. In a situation in which a ruling party elects or appoints a new leader, the incoming leader will usually be referred as "prime minister-in-waiting". An example or this situation was in 2016 in the United Kingdom when Theresa May was elected leader of the Conservative Party while David Cameron was still prime minister.
Most prime ministers in parliamentary systems are not appointed for a specific term in office and in effect may remain in power through a number of elections and parliaments. For example, Margaret Thatcher was only ever appointed prime minister on one occasion, in 1979. She remained continuously in power until 1990, though she used the assembly of each House of Commons after a general election to reshuffle her cabinet.
Some states, however, do have a term of office of the prime minister linked to the period in office of the parliament. Hence the Irish Taoiseach is formally 'renominated' after every general election. (Some constitutional experts have questioned whether this process is actually in keeping with the provisions of the Irish constitution, which appear to suggest that a taoiseach should remain in office, without the requirement of a renomination, unless s/he has clearly lost the general election.) The position of prime minister is normally chosen from the political party that commands majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.
In parliamentary systems, governments are generally required to have the confidence of the lower house of parliament (though a small minority of parliaments, by giving a right to block supply to upper houses, in effect make the cabinet responsible to both houses, though in reality upper houses, even when they have the power, rarely exercise it). Where they lose a vote of confidence, have a motion of no confidence passed against them, or where they lose supply, most constitutional systems require either:
The latter in effect allows the government to appeal the opposition of parliament to the electorate. However, in many jurisdictions a head of state may refuse a parliamentary dissolution, requiring the resignation of the prime minister and his or her government. In most modern parliamentary systems, the prime minister is the person who decides when to request a parliamentary dissolution.
Older constitutions often vest this power in the cabinet. In the United Kingdom, for example, the tradition whereby it is the prime minister who requests a dissolution of parliament dates back to 1918. Prior to then, it was the entire government that made the request. Similarly, though the modern 1937 Irish constitution grants to the Taoiseach the right to make the request, the earlier 1922 Irish Free State Constitution vested the power in the Executive Council (the then name for the Irish cabinet).
In Australia, the Prime Minister is expected to step down if s/he loses the majority support of his/her party under a spill motion as have many such as Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull.
In the Russian constitution the prime minister is actually titled Chairman of the government while the Irish prime minister is called the Taoiseach (which is rendered into English as prime minister), and in Israel he is Rosh HaMemshalah meaning "head of the government". In many cases, though commonly used, "prime minister" is not the official title of the office-holder; the Spanish prime minister is the President of the Government (Presidente del Gobierno).
Other common forms include president of the council of ministers (for example in Italy, Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri), President of the Executive Council, or Minister-President. In the Nordic countries the prime minister is called Statsminister, meaning "Minister of State". In federations, the head of government of subnational entities such as provinces is most commonly known as the premier, chief minister, governor or minister-president.
The convention in the English language is to call nearly all national heads of government "prime minister" (sometimes modified to the equivalent term of "premier") except in the cases where the head of state and head of government are fused into one position, usually a presidency, regardless of the correct title of the head of government as applied in his or her respective country. The few exceptions to the rule are Germany and Austria, whose heads of government titles are almost always translated as Chancellor; Monaco, whose head of government is referred to as the Minister of State; and Vatican City, for which the head of government is titled the Secretary of State. In the case of Ireland, the head of government is occasionally referred to as the Taoiseach by English speakers. A stand-out case is the President of Iran, who is not actually a head of state, but the head of the government of Iran. He is referred to as "president" in both the Persian and English languages.
In non-Commonwealth countries the prime minister may be entitled to the style of Excellency like a president. In some Commonwealth countries prime ministers and former prime ministers are styled Right Honourable due to their position, for example in the Prime Minister of Canada. In the United Kingdom the prime minister and former prime ministers may appear to also be styled Right Honourable, however this is not due to their position as head of government but as a privilege of being current members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.
In the UK, where devolved government is in place, the leaders of the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Governments are styled First Minister. Between 1921 and 1972, when Northern Ireland was a Majority Rule Parliament the head of government would be known as the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. In India, the Prime Minister is called 'Pradhan Mantri' meanung the Pime Minister. In Pakistan, the prime minister is referred to as Wazir-e-Azam, meaning "Grand Vizier".
The Prime Minister's executive office is usually called the Office of the Prime Minister in the case of the Canada and other Commonwealth countries, it is called Cabinet Office in United Kingdom. Some Prime Minister's office do include the role of Cabinet. In other countries, it is called the Prime Minister's Department or the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as for Australia. In Israel, the Prime Minister's executive office is officially titled the "Prime Minister's Office" in English, but the original Hebrew term can also be translated as the Prime Minister's Ministry.
Wilfried Martens, who served as Prime Minister of Belgium, described his role as follows:
The following table groups the list of past and present prime ministers and details information available in those lists.
|Term given by
years or dates
|Albania (List)||1912||-||years||Edi Rama|
|Antigua and Barbuda||1981||-||years||Gaston Browne|
|Australia (List)||1901||yes||dates||Scott Morrison|
|Bahrain||1970||-||years||Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa|
|Bermuda||1968||yes||dates||Edward David Burt|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1943||-||dates||Denis Zvizdić|
|British Virgin Islands||1967||yes||dates||Orlando Smith|
|Burkina Faso||1971||-||dates||Paul Kaba Thieba|
|Canada (List)||1867||yes||dates||Justin Trudeau|
|Cape Verde||1975||yes||dates||Ulisses Correia e Silva|
|Cayman Islands||1992||yes||dates||Alden McLaughlin|
|Central African Republic||1958||-||dates||Simplice Sarandji|
|People's Republic of China (List)||1949||-||dates||Li Keqiang|
|Congo (Brazzaville)||1957||yes||dates||Clément Mouamba|
|Congo (Kinshasa) (List)||1960||yes||dates||Bruno Tshibala|
|Cook Islands||1965||yes||dates||Henry Puna|
|Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||1957||yes||dates||Amadou Gon Coulibaly|
|Northern Cyprus||1983||yes||dates||Tufan Erhürman|
|Czech Republic||1993||-||years||Andrej Babiš|
|Denmark (List)||1848||-||years||Lars Løkke Rasmussen|
|Djibouti||1977||-||dates||Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed|
|East Timor||2002||yes||dates||Mari Alkatiri|
|Egypt (List)||1878||-||years||Moustafa Madbouly|
|Equatorial Guinea||1963||-||dates||Francisco Pascual Obama Asue|
|Faroe Islands||1946||-||years||Aksel V. Johannesen|
|France (List)||1589||-||years||Édouard Philippe|
|Gabon||1957||yes||dates||Julien Nkoghe Bekale|
|The Gambia||1961||-||dates||(Post abolished)|
|Germany (List)||1871/1949||yes||dates||Angela Merkel|
|Greece (List)||1833||-||dates||Alexis Tsipras|
|Guernsey||2007||-||dates||Gavin St Pier|
|Guinea||1972||-||dates||Ibrahima Kassory Fofana|
|Hungary (List)||1848||-||dates||Viktor Orbán|
|India (List)||1947||yes||dates||Narendra Modi|
|Iran (List)||1824||-||years||(Post abolished)|
|Israel (List)||1948||-||years||Benjamin Netanyahu|
|Italy (List)||1861||-||years||Giuseppe Conte|
|Japan (List)||1885||-||dates||Shinzō Abe|
|Jersey||2005||-||dates||John Le Fondré Jr|
|North Korea||1948||-||years||Pak Pong-ju|
|South Korea (List)||1948||-||years||Lee Nak-yeon|
|Kuwait||1962||yes||dates||Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah|
|Libya||1951||-||dates||Abdullah al-Thani / Fayez al-Sarraj|
|Mali||1957||yes||dates||Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga|
|Isle of Man||1986||-||years||Howard Quayle|
|Mauritania||1957||yes||dates||Mohamed Salem Ould Béchir|
|Mozambique||1974||yes||dates||Carlos Agostinho do Rosário|
|Myanmar (Burma)||1948||yes||dates||Aung San Suu Kyi (as State Counsellor)|
|Nepal||1803||-||dates||Khadga Prasad Oli|
|Netherlands (List)||1848||yes||dates||Mark Rutte|
|New Zealand (List)||1856||yes||dates||Jacinda Ardern|
|Niue||1974||-||dates||Sir Toke Talagi|
|Norfolk Island||1896||2015||dates||(Post abolished)|
|Pakistan (List)||1947||yes||dates||Imran Khan|
|Palestinian National Authority||2003||yes||dates||Rami Hamdallah|
|Papua New Guinea||1975||yes||years||Peter O'Neill|
|Poland (List)||1918||-||dates||Mateusz Morawiecki|
|Portugal (List)||1834||yes||dates||António Costa|
|Qatar||1970||-||dates||Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|Russia (List)||1864/1905||yes||dates||Dmitry Medvedev|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||1960||-||dates||Timothy Harris|
|Saint Lucia||1960||-||dates||Allen Chastanet|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||1956||-||dates||Ralph Gonsalves|
|Samoa||1875||yes||dates||Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi|
|São Tomé and Principe||1974||yes||dates||Jorge Bom Jesus|
|Sierra Leone||1954||yes||dates||David J. Francis|
|Singapore||1959||-||dates||Lee Hsien Loong|
|Sint Maarten||2010||-||dates||Leona Marlin-Romeo|
|Solomon Islands||1949||yes||dates||Rick Houenipwela|
|Somalia||1949||yes||dates||Hassan Ali Khayre|
|South Africa||1910||-||dates||(Post abolished)|
|South Ossetia||1991||-||dates||Erik Pukhayev|
|Spain (List)||1705||yes||years||Pedro Sánchez|
|Sri Lanka (List)||1948||-||dates||Ranil Wickremesinghe / Mahinda Rajapaksa (disputed)|
|Swaziland||1967||-||years||Mandvulo Ambrose Dlamini|
|Sweden (List)||1876||yes||years||Stefan Löfven|
|Taiwan (Republic of China) (List)||1911||-||dates||Su Tseng-chang|
|Thailand (List)||1932||yes||dates||Prayut Chan-o-cha|
|Togo||1956||yes||dates||Komi Sélom Klassou|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1956||-||dates||Keith Rowley|
|Turkey (List)||1920||yes||dates||(Post abolished)|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||1976||yes||dates||Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson|
|Ukraine (List)||1917||-||dates||Volodymyr Groysman|
|United Arab Emirates||1971||-||years||Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum|
|United Kingdom (List)||1721||yes||dates||Theresa May|
|Uruguay||No List (post established 1919)||-||-||(post abolished)|
|Vatican||1644||-||years||Cardinal Pietro Parolin|
|Vietnam||1976||yes||dates||Nguyễn Xuân Phúc|
|Yemen||1990||yes||years||Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed|
|Western Sahara||1976||no||years||Abdelkader Taleb Oumar|
The key landmark is the Bill of Rights (1689), which established the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown.... The Bill of Rights (1689) then settled the primacy of Parliament over the monarch’s prerogatives, providing for the regular meeting of Parliament, free elections to the Commons, free speech in parliamentary debates, and some basic human rights, most famously freedom from ‘cruel or unusual punishment’.
David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Witney from 2001 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2016. He identifies as a one-nation conservative, and has been associated with both economically liberal and socially liberal policies.
Born in London to an upper-middle-class family, Cameron was educated at Heatherdown School, Eton College, and Brasenose College, Oxford. From 1988 to 1993 he worked at the Conservative Research Department, assisting the Conservative Prime Minister John Major, before leaving politics to work for Carlton Communications in 1994. Becoming an MP in 2001, he served in the opposition shadow cabinet under Conservative leader Michael Howard, and succeeded Howard in 2005. Cameron sought to rebrand the Conservatives, embracing an increasingly socially liberal position. The 2010 general election led to Cameron becoming Prime Minister as the head of a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats – the youngest holder of the office since the 1810s. His premiership was marked by the ongoing effects of the late-2000s financial crisis; these involved a large deficit in government finances that his government sought to reduce through austerity measures. His administration introduced large-scale changes to welfare, immigration policy, education, and healthcare. It privatised the Royal Mail and some other state assets, and legalised same-sex marriage in Great Britain.
Internationally, his government intervened militarily in the Libyan Civil War and later authorised the bombing of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; domestically, his government oversaw the referendum on voting reform and Scottish independence referendum, both of which confirmed Cameron's favoured outcome. When the Conservatives secured an unexpected majority in the 2015 general election he remained as Prime Minister, this time leading a Conservative-only government. To fulfil a manifesto pledge, he introduced a referendum on the UK's continuing membership of the EU. Cameron supported continued membership; following the success of the Leave vote, he resigned to make way for a new Prime Minister and was succeeded by Theresa May.Cameron has been praised for modernising the Conservative Party and for decreasing the United Kingdom's national deficit. Conversely, he has been criticised by figures on both the left and right, and has been accused of elitism and political opportunism.Head of 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.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 Prime Ministers of India
The Prime Minister of India is the chief executive of the Government of India. In India's parliamentary system, the Constitution names the President as head of state de jure, but his or her de facto executive powers are vested in the prime minister and their Council of Ministers. Appointed and sworn-in by the President, the prime minister is usually the leader of the party or alliance that has a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India.Since 1947, India has had 14 prime ministers, 15 including Gulzarilal Nanda who twice acted in the role. The first was Jawaharlal Nehru of the Indian National Congress party, who was sworn in on 15 August 1947, when India gained independence from the British Raj. Serving until his death in May 1964, Nehru remains India's longest-serving prime minister. He was succeeded by fellow Congressman Lal Bahadur Shastri, whose 19-month term also ended in death. Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter, succeeded Shastri in 1966 to become the country's first woman prime minister. Eleven years later, she was voted out of power in favour of the Janata Party, whose leader Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress prime minister. After he resigned in 1979, his former deputy Charan Singh briefly held office until Indira Gandhi was voted back six months later. Her second stint as prime minister ended five years later on 31 October 1984, when she was assassinated by her own bodyguards. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was then sworn in as India's youngest premier and the third from his family. Members of Nehru–Gandhi family have been prime minister for a total of 37 years and 303 days.Rajiv's five-year term ended with his former cabinet colleague, V. P. Singh of the Janata Dal, forming the year-long National Front coalition government in 1989. A seven-month interlude under prime minister Chandra Shekhar followed, after which the Congress party returned to power, forming the government under P. V. Narasimha Rao in June 1991. Rao's five-year term was succeeded by four short-lived governments—Atal Bihari Vajpayee from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 13 days in 1996, a year each under United Front prime ministers H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral, and Vajpayee again for 19 months in 1998–99. After Vajpayee was sworn-in for the third time, in 1999, he managed to lead his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to a full five-year term, the first non-Congress alliance to do so. Vajpayee was succeeded by Manmohan Singh, whose United Progressive Alliance government was in office for 10 years between 2004 and 2014. The incumbent prime minister of India is Narendra Modi who has headed the BJP-led NDA government since 26 May 2014 which is India's first non-Congress single party majority government.Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The individual who holds the office is the most senior Minister of State, the leader of the Federal Cabinet. The Prime Minister also has the responsibility of administering the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is the chair of the National Security Committee and the Council of Australian Governments. The office of Prime Minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia but exists through Westminster political convention. The individual who holds the office is commissioned by the Governor-General of Australia and at the Governor-General's pleasure subject to the Constitution of Australia and constitutional conventions.
Scott Morrison has held the office of Prime Minister since 24 August 2018. He received his commission after replacing Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of the Liberal Party, the largest party in the Coalition government, following the Liberal Party leadership spill earlier the same day.Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada (French: Premier ministre du Canada) is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and Canada's head of government. The current, and 23rd, Prime Minister of Canada is the Liberal Party's Justin Trudeau, following the 2015 Canadian federal election. Canadian prime ministers are styled as The Right Honourable (French: Le Très Honorable), a privilege maintained for life.
The Prime Minister of Canada is in charge of the Prime Minister's Office. The Prime Minister also chooses the ministers that make up the Cabinet. The two groups, with the authority of the Parliament of Canada, manage the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. The Cabinet and the Prime Minister also appoint members of the Senate of Canada, the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and federal courts, and the leaders and boards, as required under law, of various Crown Corporations, and selects the Governor General of Canada. Under the Canadian constitution, all of the power to exercise these activities is actually vested in the Monarchy of Canada, but in practice the Canadian monarch (who is the head of state) or their representative, the Governor General of Canada approves them routinely, and their role is largely ceremonial, and their powers are only exercised under the advice of the Prime Minister.Not outlined in any constitutional document, the office exists only as per long-established convention (originating in Canada's former colonial power, the United Kingdom) that stipulates the monarch's representative, the governor general, must select as prime minister the person most likely to command the confidence of the elected House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber.Prime Minister of France
The French Prime Minister (French: Premier ministre français) in the Fifth Republic is the head of government. During the Third and Fourth Republics, the head of government position was called President of the Council of Ministers (French: Président du Conseil des Ministres), generally shortened to President of the Council (French: Président du Conseil).
The Prime Minister proposes a list of ministers to the President of the Republic. Decrees and decisions of the Prime Minister, like almost all executive decisions, are subject to the oversight of the administrative court system. Few decrees are taken after advice from the Council of State (French: Conseil d'État). All prime ministers defend the programs of their ministry, and make budgetary choices. The extent to which those decisions lie with the Prime Minister or President depends upon whether they are of the same party.
Manuel Valls was appointed to lead the government in a cabinet reshuffle in March 2014, after the ruling Socialists suffered a bruising defeat in local elections. However, he resigned on 6 December 2016, to stand in the French Socialist Party presidential primary, 2017 and Bernard Cazeneuve was appointed as Prime Minister later that day by President François Hollande. Cazeneuve resigned on 10 May 2017. Édouard Philippe was named his successor on 15 May 2017.Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India is the leader of the executive of the Government of India. The prime minister is also the chief adviser to the President of India and head of the Council of Ministers. They can be a member of any of the two houses of the Parliament of India—the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of the States)—but has to be a member of the political party or coalition, having a majority in the Lok Sabha.
The prime minister is the senior-most member of cabinet in the executive of government in a parliamentary system. The prime minister selects and can dismiss members of the cabinet; allocates posts to members within the government; and is the presiding member and chairperson of the cabinet.
The union cabinet headed by the prime minister is appointed by the President of India to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive. Union cabinet is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha as per article 75(3) of the Constitution of India. The prime minister has to enjoy the confidence of a majority in the Lok Sabha and shall resign if they are unable to prove majority when instructed by the president.Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel (Hebrew: רֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה, Rosh HaMemshala, lit. Head of the Government, Hebrew acronym: רה״מ; Arabic: رئيس الحكومة, Ra'īs al-Ḥukūma) is the head of government and chief executive of Israel.
Israel is a republic with a President as head of state. However, the President's powers are largely ceremonial; the Prime Minister holds the real power. The official residence of the Prime Minister, Beit Aghion, is in Jerusalem. The current Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, the ninth person to hold the position (excluding caretakers).
Following an election, the President nominates a member of the Knesset to become Prime Minister after asking party leaders whom they support for the position. The nominee has 42 days to put together a viable coalition. He then presents a government platform and must receive a vote of confidence from the Knesset in order to become Prime Minister. In practice, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the governing coalition. Between 1996 and 2001, the Prime Minister was directly elected, separately from the Knesset.Unlike most prime ministers in parliamentary republics, the Prime Minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Basic Laws of Israel explicitly vest executive power in the government, of which the Prime Minister is the leader.Prime Minister of Italy
The President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic (Italian: Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri della Repubblica Italiana), commonly referred to in Italy as Presidente del Consiglio, or informally as Premier and known in English as the Prime Minister of Italy, is the head of government of the Italian Republic. The office of Prime Minister is established by Articles 92 through to 96 of the Constitution of Italy. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic after each general election and must have the confidence of the Italian Parliament to stay in office.
Prior to the establishment of the Italian Republic, the position was called President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Italy (Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri del Regno d'Italia). From 1925 to 1943 during the Fascist regime, the position was transformed into the dictatorial position of Head of the Government, Prime Minister, Secretary of State (Capo del Governo, primo ministro, segretario di Stato) held by Benito Mussolini, Duce of Fascism, who officially governed on the behalf of the King of Italy. King Victor Emmanuel III removed Mussolini from office in 1943 and the position was restored with Marshal Pietro Badoglio becoming Prime Minister in 1943. Alcide De Gasperi became the first Prime Minister of the Italian Republic in 1946.
The Prime Minister is the President of the Council of Ministers which holds executive power and the position is similar to those in most other parliamentary systems. The formal Italian order of precedence lists the office as being ceremonially the fourth most important Italian state office.Prime Minister of Japan
The Prime Minister of Japan (内閣総理大臣, Naikaku-sōri-daijin, or Shushō (首相)) is the head of government of Japan. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the National Diet and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. He is the chairman of the Cabinet and appoints and dismisses the other Ministers of State. The literal translation of the Japanese name for the office is Minister for the Comprehensive Administration of (or the Presidency over) the Cabinet.Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia (Malay: Perdana Menteri Malaysia) is the head of government and the highest political office in Malaysia. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints Prime Minister as a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet of Malaysia, the de facto executive branch of government. On 18 October 2018, 7th Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, announced a two-term limit (10 years Max) to all Cabinet Profolio.
After the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, became Prime Minister of Malaysia. From independence until the 2018 general election, the Prime Minister had always been from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party of Barisan Nasional (previously Alliance). Following a general election, Mahathir Mohamad took office on 10 May 2018, as the first Prime Minister of the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH). Mahathir is the first Prime Minister not to represent the Alliance/Barisan Nasional coalition. He is also the first Malaysian Prime Minister to serve from two different parties and on non-consecutive terms.
Mahathir and the PH coalition have confirmed that, after a period of around 2 years, People's Justice Party (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim will take over as Prime Minister. On 11 June 2018, Mahathir said he's prepared to stay as Prime Minister for more than two years if that is what members of the public wants.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 Spain
The Prime Minister of Spain, officially the President of the Government of Spain (Spanish: Presidente del Gobierno de España), is the head of the government of Spain. The office was established in its current form by the Constitution of 1978 and originated in 1823 as a chairmanship of the extant Council of Ministers.
Upon a vacancy, the Spanish monarch nominates a presidency candidate for a vote of confidence by the Congress of Deputies of Spain, the lower house of the Cortes Generales (parliament). The process is a parliamentarian investiture by which the head of government is indirectly elected by the elected Congress of Deputies. In practice, the Prime Minister is almost always the leader of the largest party in the Congress. Since current constitutional practice in Spain calls for the King to act on the advice of his ministers, the Prime Minister is the country's de facto chief executive.
Pedro Sánchez of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) has been Prime Minister since 2 June, 2018, after a successful motion of no confidence against former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (informally abbreviated to PM) is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and together with their Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior ministers, most of whom are government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. The office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016.The office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The position of Prime Minister was not created; it evolved slowly and erratically over three hundred years due to numerous acts of Parliament, political developments, and accidents of history. The office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement (1688–1720) and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament. Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and legally remained the head of government, politically it gradually became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament.
By the 1830s the Westminster system of government (or cabinet government) had emerged; the Prime Minister had become primus inter pares or the first among equals in the Cabinet and the head of government in the United Kingdom. The political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication (inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internet), and photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged; the office had become the pre-eminent position in the constitutional hierarchy vis-à-vis the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet.
Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons. However as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio also First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury. The status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is consistently ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.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.The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable (The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) is an honorific style traditionally applied to certain persons and collective bodies in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, some other Commonwealth realms, the Anglophone Caribbean, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and occasionally elsewhere. The term is predominantly used today as a style associated with holding certain senior government offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.
"Right" in this context is an adverb meaning "to a great extent or degree".Theresa May
Theresa Mary May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2016. She served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016. May was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead in 1997. Ideologically, she identifies herself as a one-nation conservative.May grew up in Oxfordshire and attended St Hugh's College, Oxford. After graduating in 1977, she worked for the Bank of England. She also served as a councillor for Durnsford in Merton. After unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons she was elected as the MP for Maidenhead in the 1997 general election. From 1999 to 2010, May held a number of roles in Shadow Cabinets. She was also Chairwoman of the Conservative Party from 2002 to 2003.
When the coalition government was formed after the 2010 general election, May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, but gave up the latter role in 2012. She continued to serve as home secretary after the Conservative victory in the 2015 general election, and became the longest-serving home secretary in over 60 years. During her tenure she pursued reform of the Police Federation, implemented a harder line on drugs policy including the banning of khat, oversaw the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners, the deportation of Abu Qatada, and the creation of the National Crime Agency, and brought in additional restrictions on immigration.In July 2016, after David Cameron resigned, May was elected as Conservative Party Leader, becoming Britain's second female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher. As Prime Minister, May began the process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union, triggering Article 50 in March 2017. The following month, she announced a snap general election, with the aim of strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations. This resulted in a hung parliament, in which the number of Conservative seats fell from 330 to 317, despite the party winning their highest vote share since 1983. The loss of an overall majority prompted her to enter a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support a minority government.
May survived a vote of no confidence from her own MPs in December 2018 and a Parliamentary vote of no confidence in January 2019. May has said that she will not lead her party in the next general election scheduled for 2022 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, but has not ruled out leading it into a snap election. May carried out the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, adhering to the Chequers Agreement, which resulted in the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU. This agreement was defeated by Parliament in January 2019, and negotiations continue to try and reach a deal. May’s revised deal was defeated in Parliament by 391 votes to 242.
Titles used for heads of government
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