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A head of government (or chief 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, (commonly referred to as countries, nations or nation-states) 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", (e.g. 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),[1][2][3] 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 makeup 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
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.

Contents

1 Titles of respective heads of government

1.1 As political chief

1.1.1 Alternate English terms and renderings 1.1.2 Equivalent titles in other languages

1.2 Under a dominant head of state 1.3 Indirectly referred as the head of state 1.4 Combined heads of state and government

2 Parliamentary heads of government

2.1 Appointment 2.2 Removal 2.3 First among equals or dominating the cabinet?

3 Official residence 4 Statistics 5 See also 6 Notes and references

Titles of respective heads of government[edit]

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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. As political chief[edit] 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). Alternate English terms and renderings[edit]

Chancellor
Chancellor
(primarily in German-speaking countries) Chairman of the Executive Council Chief Minister (often subnational) Chief Executive (often subnational) First Minister (often subnational) Minister-President Premier (from French premier ministre) President
President
of the Council of Ministers President
President
of the Council of State President
President
of the Executive Council President
President
of the Government Prime Minister State Counsellor (used exclusively in Myanmar) State President
President
(used exclusively in South Africa)

Equivalent titles in other languages[edit]

Albanian: Kryeministër Basque:

Leader of the Basque Country (Spain): Eusko Jaurlaritzako lehendakaria (literally, ' President
President
of the Basque Government') Leader of Navarre
Navarre
(Spain): Nafarroako Gobernuko lehendakaria (literally, ' President
President
of the Government of Navarra') president, generically: Lehendakari

Bulgarian: Министър-председател (transliteration: Ministar-predsedatel, literally 'Minister President') Catalan:

For Andorra: Cap de Govern del Principat d' Andorra
Andorra
(literally: 'Head of Government of the Principality of Andorra') For the Balearic Islands
Balearic Islands
(Spain): President/-a del Govern Balear For Catalonia
Catalonia
(Spain): President/-a de la Generalitat de Catalunya (literally: ' President
President
of the Generalitat of Catalonia') For Valencia
Valencia
(Spain): President/-a de la Generalitat Valenciana (literally: ' President
President
of the Valencian Generalitat') The terms 'head of government' and 'prime minister', generically: cap de govern and primer ministre or primera ministra, respectively

Chinese:

For the President
President
of the People's Republic
Republic
of China: Zhuxi For the Premier of the People's Republic
Republic
of China: Zongli

Czech: Předseda vlády (literally: 'Chairman of the Government') Danish: Statsminister
Statsminister
(literally: 'Minister of the State') Dutch:

For the head of government of the Netherlands: Minister-President, Eerste Minister (literally, 'First Minister') or Premier For the head of government of Belgium, and as the term 'prime minister' generically: Eerste Minister or Premier

Estonian: Peaminister Finnish: Pääministeri Filipino

For the head of state and government (President) of the Philippines: Pangulo ng Pilipinas

French:

For France, Belgium
Belgium
and Canada: Prime Minister of France; Prime Minister of Belgium; Prime Minister of Canada: Premier Ministre or Première Ministre, also as the term 'prime minister' generically. For Switzerland: Conseil Fédéral (literally, the 'Federal Council', considered the head of government as a group)

Galician (Spain): Presidente/-a da Xunta de Galicia (literally, ' President
President
of the Council of Galicia') German:

For Germany
Germany
and Austria: Chancellor
Chancellor
of Germany; Chancellor
Chancellor
of Austria: Bundeskanzler (masc.) / Bundeskanzlerin (fem.) For Switzerland: Schweizerischer Bundesrat (literally, the 'Swiss Federal Council', considered the head of government as a group) The term 'head of government,' generically: Regierungschef/-in The term 'prime minister,' generically: Ministerpräsident/-in; or Premierminister/-in historically: Leitender Minister ('Senior Minister')

Greek: Πρωθυπουργός (transliteration: Prothipourgos) Hebrew: ראש הממשלה (transliteration: Rosh HaMemshala) Hindi/Hindustani/Urdu:

The term 'head of government', generically: शासनप्रमुख(translit. Śāsanapramukha), literally:'Chief of government' The term 'Prime Minister', generically: प्रधानमन्त्री (translit. Pradhānamantrī), literally:'Chief of Ministers/Prime Minister' The other Hindustani term generically used for 'Prime Minister'(now used officially only in Pakistan
Pakistan
with Urdu
Urdu
as official language) : वज़ीर-ए-आज़म/وزیر اعظم‬ (translit. Wazīr-ē-Āzam), lit.:'Grand Vizier/Prime Minister' For 'Prime Minister of India' : भारतीय प्रधानमन्त्री/भारत के प्रधानमन्त्री (translit. Bhāratiya Pradhānamantrī/Bhārat Kē Pradhānamantrī), translation:'Indian Prime Minister/Prime Minister of India'(this term is used by the Government of the Union and the State Governments of India, under the umbrella of " Hindi
Hindi
Language"); For 'Prime Minister of Pakistan': وزیر اعظم پاکستان‬/پاکستان کے وزیر اعظم‬ (translit. Wazīr-ē-Āzam Pākistān/Pākistān Kē Wazīr-ē-Āzam), This is the term used in India
India
and Pakistan
Pakistan
under the umbrella of Urdu, the Hindi
Hindi
term being, पाकिस्तानी प्रधानमन्त्री/पाकिस्तान के प्रधानमन्त्री (translit.Pākistānī Pradhānamantrī/Pākistān Kē Pradhānamantrī) Historically, various terms like Pradhānamantrī, Pradhān, Pantapradhān, Sadr-ē-Riyāsat, Sadr, Wazīr-ē-Āzam, Wazīr-ē-Ālā, Mahāmantrī, Wazīr-ē-Khazānā, Pēśwā, Dīwān, Dīwān Sāhib, Dīwān Bahādur, Dīwān Pramukh, Sadr-ul-Maham, Pantapramukh, Ālāmantrī, etc. have been used by various Empires, Kingdoms and Princely States of India
India
as a title for the Prime Minister, some of these titles were also used by the sovereign of various kingdoms.

Hungarian: Miniszterelnök Indonesia:

For the President
President
of Indonesia: Presiden

Irish: Leader of Ireland: Taoiseach Italian:

For the head of government of Italy: Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana (literally, ' President
President
of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic') When referring to other prime ministers: Primo ministro or Prima ministra (masculine and feminine forms; literally 'prime minister') For Switzerland: Consiglio Federale (literally, the 'Federal Council', considered the head of government as a group)

Japanese:

For the head of state of Japan
Japan
(Emperor): Ten'no For the head of government of Japan
Japan
(Prime Minister): Shusho

Korean:

For the President
President
of South Korea: Daetonglyeong For the Prime Minister of South Korea: Chongli

Latvian:

For the head of government of Latvia: Ministru prezidents (literally, 'Minister President') When referring to other prime ministers: Premjerministrs

Lithuanian: Ministras pirmininkas Malay: In Malaysia, the head of government of the constituent states are expressed in the Malay language
Malay language
(either Ketua Menteri, "chief minister" in the Malaysian states without a monarchy (Malacca, Penang, Sabah
Sabah
and Sarawak), or Menteri Besar
Menteri Besar
" great minister" in the sultanates and other monarchic states). Maltese: In Malta, the head of government is "Prim Ministru." Norwegian: Statsminister Polish:

For the head of government of Poland: Prezes Rady Ministrów (literally, ' President
President
of the Council of Ministers') For the term 'prime minister' in general: Premier (also, informally, to the head of government of Poland)

Portuguese:

For Brazil: Presidente/-a da República Federativa do Brasil (literally, ' President
President
of the Federal Republic
Republic
of Brazil') For Portugal
Portugal
and as the term 'prime minister' in general: Primeiro-ministro or Primeira-ministra (masculine and feminine forms, literally 'prime minister' or 'first minister')

Romanian: Prim-ministru Russian: Prem'yer-ministr Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලංකා අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය (literally: 'Sri Lanka Prime Minister') Slovak: Predseda vlády (literally: 'Chairman of the Government') Slovene: Predsednik Vlade (literally: 'Chairman of the Government') Spanish:

For the head of government of Argentina: Presidente/-a de la Nación Argentina
Argentina
(literally, ' President
President
of the Argentine Nation') For the head of government of Colombia: Presidente/-a de la República de Colombia
Colombia
(literally, ' President
President
of the Republic
Republic
of Colombia') For the head of government of Mexico: Presidente/-a de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (literally, ' President
President
of the United Mexican States') For the head of government of Spain: Presidente/-a del gobierno de España etc., etc. When referring to other prime ministers: Primer ministro or Primera Ministra (masculine and feminine forms; literally 'prime minister') The term 'head of government', generically: jefe del gobierno

Swahili: Sultan Swedish: Statsminister
Statsminister
("prime minister", literally: "state minister") Thai:

For the head of state (King) of Thailand: Ks'atriy For the head of government (Prime Minister) of Thailand: Naykrathmntri

Turkish: Başbakan

Under a dominant head of state[edit] 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
President
of Prussia and later Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
under Emperor/King Wilhelm I, serves as an example showing that possession of formal powers does not equal political influence. Indirectly referred as the head of state[edit] 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:

Mayor
Mayor
of the palace of the Merovingian kingdoms Nawab wasir
Nawab wasir
of the Mughal Empire (also governor of Awadh) Peshwa
Peshwa
of Satara and the Maratha empire Shōgun
Shōgun
in feudal Japan Sultan
Sultan
in the original case of the Seljuk Turks
Seljuk Turks
who made the caliphs of Baghdad
Baghdad
their puppets; later both styles were often used for absolute rulers in Nepal

Combined heads of state and government[edit]

President
President
Dilma Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff
of Brazil
Brazil
and President
President
Christina Kirchner of Argentina
Argentina
in 2015.

In some models the head of state and head of government are one and the same. These include:

President
President
(executive) An absolute monarch reigning and ruling without a separate principal minister Chief magistrate Führer
Führer
(used in Nazi Germany
Germany
for Adolf Hitler) A State Governor
Governor
in the United States (subnational executives)

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

Sultan
Sultan
of Brunei King of Saudi Arabia

See Head of state
Head of state
for further explanation of these cases. Parliamentary heads of government[edit]

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The heads of government of five members of the Commonwealth of Nations at the 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. From left to right, Mackenzie King (Canada), Jan Smuts
Jan Smuts
(South Africa), Winston Churchill (United Kingdom), Peter Fraser
Peter Fraser
(New Zealand), and John Curtin (Australia).

In parliamentary systems, government functions along the following lines:

The head of government — usually the leader of the majority party or coalition — forms the government, which is answerable to parliament; Full answerability of government to parliament is achieved through

The ability of parliament to pass a vote of no confidence. The ability to vote down legislative proposals of the government. Control over or ability to vote down fiscal measures and the budget (or supply); a government is powerless without control of the state finances. In a bicameral system, it is often the so-called lower house, e.g. the British House of Commons
British House of Commons
that exercises the major elements of control and oversight; in some others, e.g. Australia
Australia
and Italy, the government is constitutionally or by convention answerable to both chambers/Houses of Parliament.

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. Appointment[edit] In many countries, the Head of government
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. Removal[edit] Heads of government are typically removed from power in a parliamentary system by

Resignation, following:

Defeat in a general election. Defeat in a leadership vote at their party caucus, to be replaced by another member of the same party. Defeat in a parliamentary vote on a major issue, e.g., loss of supply, loss of confidence. (In such cases, a head of government may seek a parliamentary dissolution from the Head of state
Head of state
and attempt to regain support by popular vote.)

Dismissal — some constitutions allow a Head of state
Head of state
(or their designated representative, as is the case in some Commonwealth countries) to dismiss a Head of government, though its use can be controversial, as occurred in 1975 when then Australian Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the Australian Constitutional Crisis. Death — in this case, the deputy Head of government
Head of government
typically acts as the head of government until a new head of government is appointed.

First among equals or dominating the cabinet?[edit] 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
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. 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
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
Margaret Thatcher
and Tony Blair. They were also made against Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Federal Chancellor
Chancellor
of West Germany
Germany
(later all of Germany), Helmut Kohl, when in power. Official residence[edit]

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The Head of government
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:

Aiwan-e-Sadr
Aiwan-e-Sadr
in Islamabad — President
President
of Pakistan 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street
in London — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (who also has a country residence, Chequers) Seri Perdana in Putrajaya — Prime Minister of Malaysia 7, Race Course Road
7, Race Course Road
in New Delhi — Prime Minister of India Catshuis — Prime Minister of the Netherlands 24 Sussex Drive
24 Sussex Drive
in Ottawa — Prime Minister of Canada
Canada
(who also has a country residence, Harrington Lake) Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai
in Beijing — Premier of the People's Republic
Republic
of China Kantei
Kantei
in Tokyo — Prime Minister of Japan Palazzo Chigi
Palazzo Chigi
in Rome — President
President
of the Council of Ministers of Italy The Lodge in Canberra
Canberra
(with an additional residence, Kirribilli House, in Sydney) — Prime Minister of Australia Hôtel Matignon[4] in Paris— Prime Minister of France The Lambermont in Brussels — Prime Minister of Belgium Palacio de la Moncloa
Palacio de la Moncloa
in Madrid — President
President
of the Government of Spain Premier House in Wellington — Prime Minister of New Zealand Kesäranta
Kesäranta
in Helsinki — Prime Minister of Finland Sager House
Sager House
in Stockholm — Prime Minister of Sweden
Prime Minister of Sweden
(who also has a country residence, Harpsund)

Fuller list in the official residence article.

Malacañan Palace
Malacañan Palace
in Manila — President
President
of the Philippines Merdeka Palace
Merdeka Palace
in Jakarta — President
President
of Indonesia White House
White House
in Washington, D.C. — President
President
of the United States Istana Nurul Iman
Istana Nurul Iman
in Bandar Seri Begawan — Sultan
Sultan
of Brunei King's Palace in Riyadh — King of Saudi Arabia Blue House
Blue House
in Seoul — President
President
of South Korea Government House, Hong Kong
Government House, Hong Kong
- Chief Executive of Hong Kong Macau Government Headquarters
Macau Government Headquarters
- Chief Executive of Macau

Similarly the 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 its aspirations of statehood. For example, in Belgium:

Hotel Errera in Brussels — Minister- President
President
of the Flemish community and region Élysette
Élysette
in Namur — Minister- President
President
of the Walloon Region

However, Heads of governments' residences are usually far less grand than those (often called palace) of a Head of state
Head of state
(even a merely ceremonial one), unless they combine both roles, as for example:

Casa de Nariño
Casa de Nariño
in Bogotá — President
President
of Colombia Casa Rosada
Casa Rosada
in Buenos Aires — President
President
of the Argentine Nation Palácio da Alvorada
Palácio da Alvorada
in Brasília — President
President
of the Federative Republic
Republic
of Brazil The White House
White House
(1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) in Washington, D.C. — President of the United States
President of the United States
of America

Even the formal representative of the head of state, such as a governor-general, may well be housed in a grander palace-type residence, often with such names as Government House. Statistics[edit]

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See also: Records of heads of state As of mid-2011:

World's longest serving unelected head of government: Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain
Prime Minister of Bahrain
since 1971.[5] World's longest serving monarchical head of government: Tage Erlander, Prime Minister of Sweden
Prime Minister of Sweden
from 1946 to 1969 (23 years, 3 days). World's longest serving republican head of government: Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore
Prime Minister of Singapore
from 1959 to 1990 (31 years, 178 days).

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Heads of government.

Head of state List of current heads of state and government European Council Monarchy
Monarchy
of the United Kingdom Chief executive officer and Chief operating officer Power behind the throne Éminence grise Air transports of heads of state and government Official Portraits (book) World Leaders

Notes and references[edit]

Jean Blondel & Ferdinand Muller-Rommel Cabinets in Western Europe (ISBN 0-333-46209-2) WorldStatesmen (click on each country)

^ HEADS OF STATE, HEADS OF GOVERNMENT, MINISTERS FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Archived 2012-11-16 at WebCite, Protocol and Liaison Service, United Nations (2012-10-19). Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
1969, International Law Commission, United Nations. Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents 1973, International Law Commission, United Nations. Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ Not to be confused with a hotel, as a grand palace is called a hôtel in French. ^ H.R.H. the Prime Minister. Mofa.gov.bh (2013-02-20). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.

v t e

Titles used for heads of government

Chancellor Chief executive Chief minister Federal Council (collective head of government) First minister (and deputy First Minister) Minister-president Premier President President
President
of the Executive Council President
President
of the Council of Ministers President
President
of the government Prime minister State Elder Statsminister Taoiseach

Authority control

GND: 4130306-4

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