Prime Minister and President

Who are the President and Prime Minister of a country? What are their Duties and Powers? What are the Different Types of Government?
Prime minister and President

Every democratic state or country has a political party. These political parties select a representative to be elected as the Prime Minister and President of a nation. We all have always wondered about the fact that who is more powerful: President or Prime Minister. Let’s read about President vs Prime Minister powers in a country.

1. Prime Minister Definition

A Prime Minister can be defined as the head of the cabinet of ministers. He is also the head of the elected government of a sovereign state or country. The term Prime Minister was first recorded in the 17th century in the French form that is Premier Ministre. This title was used for Cardinal Richelieu in 1642 while he was being announced as the head of the royal council. The first Prime Minister in the world was Sir Edmund Barton. He was the first elected Prime Minister from the Protectionist Party in Barton and entered office on 1 January 1901. (See Mounted Police Jobs)

2. Election of Prime Minister

There are different ways of electing a Prime Minister in various countries:

  • In some countries, they are appointed by the leader of the government.
  • In some countries, the Prime Minister is elected by the votes of the members of the winning party.
  • Prime Minister can also be elected after being nominated by the parliament and then appointed by the President or through the elections of the legislature.
  • In a monarch-ruled state, a Prime Minister can be appointed or removed as the monarch sees fit.

3. Types of Governments with Prime Ministers as Heads

Various countries have one of the following forms of Government in which they have a Prime Minister as the head of the parliament.

I. Parliamentary republic

  • The Parliamentary Republic is the system in which a President is the head of the State, and a Prime Minister is the head of the Government.
  • India and Germany follow this form of Government.
  • In such a government, a Prime Minister is the head of the party in power. It can elect cabinet ministers to help him and provide necessary assistance in carrying out various tasks and duties. (See Why Was the Great Compromise Important?)

II. Semi-Presidential Government

  • In the Semi-Presidential form of Government, a Prime Minister works along with a President.
  • South Korea, France, and Russia follow such a pattern in which a President is the head of both state and government.
  • In these countries, the President is the head of foreign affairs.

III. Constitutional Monarchy

  • Constitutional Monarchy is the system in which a monarch (King or Queen) rules over the kingdom.
  • But the President is the elected head of the government.
  • This type of government is found in countries like the United Kingdom.
  • Here, the head of the state is the Queen. (See Degradation Ceremony and its History)

IV. Presidential Government

  • Comparing the Prime Minister and President in a Presidential Government, the ultimate head of the state is the President.
  • There is a Prime Minister, but his powers are less than a President, as followed in countries like the United States, and Kenya.

Prime Minister and President

4. President Definition

The term President originated from the Latin word praesidens which means presiding over or a leader. This term was first mentioned between 1649 and 1660 during the Commonwealth of England. Another meaning of this term is to govern or to command. A President is the head of a state of the republic. It is said that George Washington is the first President of the United States and thus, the first person to be called as a President. (See 8 Presidents Before George Washington)

5. Election of the President

President is elected by the votes of the Electoral College or by the vote of the popular candidate. President can be selected by the collective presidency or by a popular vote cast by citizens in favor of their favorite candidate. A president’s term of office differs from country to country and the type of government practiced over there. (See What Was Howard Hughes Net Worth When He Died?)

6. Semi-Presidential Form of Government

In a Semi-Presidential system of Government, both Prime Minister and President co-exist in the system. It can be of two forms as mentioned below:

I. Premier-Presidential System

  • In a Premier-presidential system, both Prime Minister and President have different powers.
  • A President elects the Prime Minister and the cabinet of ministers. But he does not have the power to remove them from their position.
  • After being elected, the Prime Minister and the cabinet of ministers have to report directly to the parliament. And only the parliament has the power to remove them from their positions. (See Marijuana: 8 Reasons Why was it made illegal in the first place)

II. President-Parliament system

  • In a President-Parliament system, a President can elect the Prime Minister and cabinet of ministers for him.
  • The President can remove them also even if there is no cooperation from the parliament.
  • The Prime Minister and cabinet ministers are answerable to the parliament. They can also be removed from their position by a vote of no confidence passed in the parliament.

Depending upon the authorities and powers provided to them, a comparison is being made to determine who is more powerful President or Prime Minister. 

Prime Minister and President

  • A Prime Minister is responsible for answering the questions of parliament. They are also responsible for directing the government activities related to managing cabinet meetings. But a President is responsible for enforcing and implementing the Congressional laws.
  • A Prime Minister is responsible for meeting foreign delegates, officials, and dignitaries. While a President only performs ceremonial duties. (See Why Is It Called Jaywalking?)

8. Powers of Policymaking

  • A Prime Minister has the responsibility to make the policies. And the President is responsible to read, check, and sign those policies.
  • A Prime Minister is responsible for coordinating with the cabinet ministers in their work and then implementing the required programs accordingly.
  • A President has the responsibility of the commander in chief of the military. (See Why is Government Necessary?)
  • A Prime Minister does not have the power to declare a state of emergency in a state. Still, a President has the authority to declare Financial Emergency, State Emergency, and National Emergency in the state.
  • A President has the authority to pardon any sentence or judgments given by any judicial house.

10. Elective powers

A Prime Minister and President exercise different elective powers depending on their country.

  • A Prime Minister has the power to appoint government members like ministers and other officials. A President has the authority of appointing the federal heads of the government, including the election of cabinet ministers. A President also appoints the judges of Supreme Court & High Court, Chief Justice of India, and Chief Justice of high courts.
  • The Prime Minister does not have the power to remove a President in power from office. The President can remove a Prime Minister from his office and order a fresh election to elect a new Prime Minister.
  • A President has the power to dissolve the Lower House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha). But a Prime Minister has no such powers to dissolve any houses of the parliament. (See Emu War Casualties)

11. The Removal of Powers

  • In a Parliamentary form of government, the Prime Minister can be removed when all the parliament members pass the vote of no confidence against him. This vote forces a Prime Minister to resign from his position.
  • In a Presidential form of government, if the President is involved in crimes and misdemeanours, Congress can remove him or her from office. The process through which a President can be removed from office is known as impeachment. The process of impeachment is followed in several countries with a parliamentary form of government. Countries like India, Kenya, etc., can remove their President through impeachment. Both Prime Minister and President have their powers, and they are liable according to their posts. 

12. Conclusion of Powers and Duties: Prime Minister vs President

After comparing the duties and powers of both, we got to know that a President is more powerful than a Prime Minister. Irrespective of the type of government practiced in a country, a President has more powers than a Prime Minister.

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