HOME

TheInfoList




A prime minister or a premier is the head of the
cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
and the leader of the ministers in the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
branch of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
, often in a
parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ...
or
semi-presidential system A semi-presidential system, or dual executive system, is a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, g ...
. Under those systems, a prime minister is not the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
or a monarch, but rather the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred ...
, serving typically under a
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
in a democratic constitutional monarchy or under a
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
in a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
an form of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
. In parliamentary systems fashioned after the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
, the prime minister is the presiding and actual
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred ...
and head of the executive branch. In such systems, the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
or their official representative (e.g., monarch, president, governor-general) usually holds a largely ceremonial position, although often with
reserve power In a parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state (polity), state, by a ma ...
s. Under some
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, governmen ...
s, such as
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A cou ...

South Korea
and
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = National seal , national_motto ...

Peru
, the prime minister is not the head of government; rather, he or she is only the leader or most senior member of the cabinet. 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 The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...

chairman
of the cabinet. In a minority of systems, notably in
semi-presidential system A semi-presidential system, or dual executive system, is a system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, g ...
s, a prime minister is the official appointed to manage the
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
and execute the directives of the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
. Today, the prime minister is often, but not always, a member of the legislature or its lower house, and is expected with other ministers to ensure the passage of bills through the
legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure i ...
. In some
monarchies A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legisl ...
the monarch may also exercise executive powers (known as the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
) without the approval of parliament. As well as being head of government, being prime minister may require holding other roles or posts—the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, aut ...
, for example, is also
First Lord of the Treasury The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for services rendered ** Commission (art), the purchase o ...
and
Minister for the Civil Service In the Government of the United Kingdom, the minister for the civil service is responsible for regulations regarding Her Majesty's Civil Service, the role of which is to assist the governments of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of G ...
. In some cases, prime ministers may choose to hold additional ministerial posts (e.g. when the portfolio is critical to that government's mandate): during the Second World War,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, Winston Churchill in the Second World War, during the Second World War, ...

Winston Churchill
was also
Minister of Defence A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
(although there was then no
Ministry of DefenceMinistry of Defence or Ministry of Defense may refer to: * Ministry of defence, a type of government department responsible for matters of defence Current ministries * Ministry of Defense (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Defence (Albania) * Ministry ...
). Another example is the
Thirty-fourth government of Israel The thirty-fourth government of Israel, also known as the ''Fourth Netanyahu Government'', was the government of Israel The Government of Israel (officially: he, ממשלת ישראל ''Memshelet Yisrael'') exercises executive Executive may ...

Thirty-fourth government of Israel
, when
Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu (; ; born 21 October 1949) is an Israeli politician serving as the since 2009, previously serving that role from 1996 to 1999. Netanyahu is also the . He is the Israeli prime minister in history and the first to be after ...

Benjamin Netanyahu
at one point served as the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
and minister of Communications,
Foreign Affairs ''Foreign Affairs'' is an American magazine of international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader ...
, Regional Cooperation,
Economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
,
Defense Defense or defence may refer to: Tactical, martial, and political acts or groups * Defense (military) A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is ty ...
and
Interior Interior may refer to: Arts and media * Interior (Degas), ''Interior'' (Degas) (also known as ''The Rape''), painting by Edgar Degas * Interior (play), ''Interior'' (play), 1895 play by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck * The Interior (novel) ...
.


Etymology

The term ''prime minister'' in its French form, ''premier ministre'', is attested in 17th Century sources referring to
Cardinal Richelieu Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu Duke of Richelieu was a title of French nobility. It was created on 26 November 1629 for Cardinal Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu (known as Cardinal Richelieu) who, as a Roman Catholic cl ...
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 , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

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 current sense originated in the 18th century in the United Kingdom when members of parliament disparagingly used the title in reference to
Sir Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...
(whose official title was
First Lord of the Treasury The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for services rendered ** Commission (art), the purchase o ...
). 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.


History


Origins

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 Thomas Cromwell, (; 1485 – 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the King ...
under
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fro ...
;
William Cecil, Lord Burghley William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (13 September 15204 August 1598) was an English statesman, the chief adviser of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State (England), Secretary of State (1550–1553 and 1558–1572) an ...
under
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_an ...

Elizabeth I
;
Clarendon Clarendon may refer to: Places Australia *Clarendon, New South Wales Clarendon is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Clarendon railway station is on the Richmond branch of the North Shore & Western Line of the Sydney ...
under
Charles II
Charles II
and Godolphin under
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

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 Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
, 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 A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
ministers
HarleyHarley may refer to: People * Harley (given name) * Harley (surname) Fictional characters * Harley Quinn, a character in DC Comics' ''Batman'' franchise * Harley Hartwell, a character in the anime and manga ''Case Closed'' * Harley Warren, a chara ...
and
Viscount Bolingbroke Viscount Bolingbroke is a current title in the Peerage of Great Britain created in 1712 for Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, Henry St John. He was simultaneously made Baron St John, of Lydiard Tregoze in the Wiltshire, County of Wilts. Sinc ...

Viscount Bolingbroke
shared power.


Development

In the mid 17th century, after the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governance and issues of re ...
(1642–1651), Parliament strengthened its position relative to the monarch then gained more power through the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
of 1688 and passage of the
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental ...
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 IGeorge I or 1 may refer to: People * Patriarch George I of Alexandria (floruit, fl. 621–631) * George I of Constantinople (d. 686) * George I of Antioch (d. 790) * George I of Abkhazia (ruled 872/3–878/9) * George I of Georgia (d. 1027) * Yuri D ...
to the throne. George spoke no English, spent much of his time at his home in
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
, 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 Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
politician
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...

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 The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...
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 William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, (15 March 177924 November 1848), in some sources called Henry William Lamb, was a British Whig The Whigs were a political faction Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated ...

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 IIGeorge II or 2 may refer to: People * George II of Antioch (seventh century AD) * George II of Armenia (late ninth century) * George II of Abkhazia (916–960) * Patriarch George II of Alexandria (1021–1051) * George II of Georgia (1072–1089) * ...
and
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on th ...
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 William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a prominent Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism ...

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 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is e ...

Benjamin Disraeli
but did not appear in the formal British
Order of precedence An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance and can be applied to individuals, groups, or organizations. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments, for very formal and state oc ...
until 1905. The prestige of British institutions in the 19th century and the growth of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

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.


Modern usage

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 A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
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.
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fâr ...

Bahrain
's former prime minister,
Sheikh Sheikh ( , ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural ' )—also transliteration of Arabic, transliterated sheekh, sheik, sheyikh, shaykh, shayk, shekh, shaik and shaikh, shak—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly desig ...

Sheikh
Khalifah bin Sulman Al Khalifah occupied the post from 1970 to November 2020, making him the longest serving non-elected prime minister.


Overview of the Office


In monarchies and in republics

The post of prime minister may be encountered both in constitutional
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
ies (such as
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...
, the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...
,
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...
,
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
, and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
) and in
parliamentary republicThe Parliamentary Republic can refer to: * A republican form of government with a Parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (o ...
s, in which the head of state is an elected official (such as
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...
, the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
, Indonesia (1945–1959),
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in . It is located on the and is a part of the , sharing borders with to the northeast, to the north and west, to the east, to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and to the ...
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...
, Turkey (1923–2018)) and Prime Minister of Italy, Italy). See also "First Minister", "Premier", "Chief Minister", "Chancellor", "Taoiseach", "Minister of State (''Statsminister'')", "President of the Government", "President of the Council of Ministers" and "Secretary of State": alternative titles usually equivalent in meaning to, or translated as, "prime minister". This contrasts with the
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, governmen ...
, in which the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
(or equivalent) is both the head of state and the head of the government. In some Presidential system, presidential and all Semi-presidential system, semi-presidential systems, such as those of Politics of France, France, Politics of Russia, Russia, Politics of South Korea, South Korea or Politics of Ukraine, Ukraine, 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 People's Republic of China, Premier of the State Council and the premier of the Politics of the Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan) is also appointed by the President of the Republic of China, 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 (government), cohabitation.


Entry into office

In parliamentary systems a prime minister may enter into office by several means. * The head of state appoints a prime minister, of their personal choice: Example: France, where the President has the power to appoint the Prime Minister of their choice, though the National Assembly (France), National Assembly can force a government to resign, they cannot nominate or appoint a new candidate. :While in practice most prime ministers under the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
(including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, India and the United Kingdom) are the leaders of the largest party or Political alliance, coalition in parliament, technically the appointment of the prime minister is de jure exercised by the head of state. * The head of state appoints a prime minister who has a set timescale within which they must gain a vote of confidence: Example: Italy, Romania, Thailand * The head of state appoints a formateur from among the members of Parliament, who then has a set timescale within which they must form a cabinet, and receive the confidence of Parliament after presenting the Cabinet Composition and Legislative Program to Parliament, and the formateur becomes Prime Minister once approved by parliament: Example: Israel * The head of state appoints the leader of the political party with the majority of the seats in the Parliament as Prime Minister. If no party has a majority, then the leader of the party with a plurality of seats is given an ''exploratory mandate'' to receive the confidence of the parliament within three days. If this is not possible, then the leader of the party with the second highest seat number is given the exploratory mandate. If this fails, then the leader of the third largest party is given it and so on: Example: Greece, see Prime Minister of Greece * The head of state ''nominates'' a candidate for prime minister who is then submitted to parliament for approval before appointment as prime minister: Example: Spain, where the King sends a nomination to parliament for approval. Also Germany where under the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Basic Law (constitution) the Bundestag votes on a candidate nominated by the federal president. In the Philippines under the 1973 Constitution as amended after martial law, the Prime Minister was elected by the Batasang Pambansâ (Legislature) upon nomination by the President. In these cases, parliament can choose another candidate who then would be appointed by the head of state (or, in the case of the Philippines, outright elect that candidate). * Parliament ''nominates'' a candidate who the head of state is then constitutionally obliged to appoint as prime minister: Example: Republic of Ireland, Ireland, where the President of Ireland, President appoints the Taoiseach on the nomination of Dáil Éireann. Also Japan. * Election by the Legislature: Example: the Philippines under the unamended 1973 Constitution, where the prime minister was supposed to be elected by the Batasang Pambansâ; these provisions were never used because the Philippines was under martial law at the time. Also Vanuatu. * Direct election by popular vote: Example: Israel, 1996–2001, where the prime minister was elected in a general election, with no regard to political affiliation. * Nomination by a state office holder other than the head of state or his/her representative: Example: Under the modern Swedish Constitution of Sweden, Instrument of Government, the power to appoint someone to form a government has been moved from the Monarch of Sweden, monarch to the Speaker of Parliament and the parliament itself. The speaker nominates a candidate, who is then elected to prime minister (''statsminister'') by the parliament if an absolute majority of the members of parliament does not vote no (i.e. he can be elected even if more MP:s vote ''no'' than ''yes'').


Exit from office

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 The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...
after a general election to Cabinet reshuffle, 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 Republic of Ireland, 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,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
s are generally required to have the confidence of the lower house, lower house of parliament (though a small minority of parliaments, by giving a right to block Loss of Supply, supply to upper houses, in effect make the
cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
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 (parliamentary), opposition of parliament to the Constituency, 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 Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
. 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 (Commonwealth countries), Executive Council'' (the then name for the Irish cabinet). In Australia, the Prime Minister is expected to step down if they lose the majority support of their party under a spill motion as have many such as Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull.


Organisational structure

The Prime Minister's executive office is usually called the Office of the Prime Minister or Cabinet Office. The U.K.’s Cabinet Office includes the Prime Minister’s Office. Conversely, some Prime Minister's Offices incorporate the role of Cabinet, while Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet joins them at par. 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. The Prime Minister's Department is also used, as is Cabinet Department.


Description of the role

Wilfried Martens, who served as Prime Minister of Belgium, described his role as follows: :First of all the Prime Minister must listen a lot, and when deep disagreements occur, he must suggest a solution to the matter. This can be done in different ways. Sometimes during the discussion, I note the elements of the problem and think of a proposal I can formulate to the Council (cabinet), the Secretary taking notes. The Ministers then insist on changing game ages. The Prime Minister can also make a proposal which leaves enough room for amendments in order to keep the current discussion on the right tracks. When a solution must be found in order to reach a consensus, he can force one or two Ministers to join or resign.


Cross-country comparative details


Titles

In Constitution of Russia, the Russian constitution the prime minister is actually titled ''Chairman of the government'' while the Irish prime minister is called the (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 Prime Minister of Spain, President of the Government (). Other common forms include president of the council of ministers (for example in Italy, ), Minister-President, 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 Federated state, a federated entity (e.g., Provinces and territories of Canada, a Canadian province, States of Brazil, a Brazilian state, etc.) 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 the equivalent term "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 language, 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 (the Prime Minister of Canada, for example). 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 (legal ethics), privilege of being current members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council#Rights and privileges of members, Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council. In the UK, where devolved government is in place, the leaders of the Scottish Government, Scottish, Northern Ireland Executive, Northern Irish and Welsh Assembly Government, 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 ''Pradhān Mantrī'', literally meaning the Head of ministers or Prime Minister. In Pakistan, the prime minister is referred to as ''Wazir-e-Azam'', meaning "Grand Vizier".


Constitutional basis for the position in different countries

The position, power and status of prime ministers differ depending on the age of the constitution. Australia's Constitution of Australia, constitution makes no mention of a Prime Minister of Australia and the office only exists by convention, based on the British model. Bangladesh's Constitution of Bangladesh, constitution clearly outlines the functions and powers of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Prime Minister, and also details the process of his/her appointment and dismissal. The People's Republic of China Constitution of the People's Republic of China, constitution set a Premier of the People's Republic of China, premier just one place below the National People's Congress in China. Premier read as (Simplified Chinese characters, Simplified Chinese: 总理; pinyin: Zŏnglĭ) in Chinese. Canada has a 'mixed' or hybrid Constitution of Canada, constitution, partly formally codified and partly uncodified. The codified part originally made no reference whatsoever to a prime minister and still gives no parameters of the office. Instead, her or his powers, duties, appointment and termination follow uncodified conventions. The ''Constitution Act, 1867'' only establishes the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, to which all federal ministers (among others) are appointed and with Members of which the Monarch or her Governor General normally performs executive government (as King-in-Council, Queen- or Governor-in-Council). The ''Constitution Act, 1982'', adds passing reference to the "Prime Minister of Canada" [French: ] but as detail of first ministers conference, conferences of federal and provincial first minister#Canada, first ministers.)
Constitution Act, 1982
', Schedule B to the ''Canada Act 1982'' (U.K.), 1982, c. 11, §§ 35.1, 49. See also “Constitution Act, 1982,” in: Justice Canada, ed.
''A Consolidation of'' The Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982
Government of Canada Catalogue № YX1‑1/2012 (Ottawa: 2012), , pp. 53–75 at 63, 68.
Czech Republic's Constitution of the Czech Republic, constitution clearly outlines the functions and powers of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and also details the process of his/her appointment and dismissal. France's Constitution of France, constitution (1958) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of France. Germany's Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, Basic Law (1949) lists the powers, functions and duties of the federal Chancellor of Germany (Federal Republic), chancellor. Greece's Constitution of Greece, constitution (1975) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Greece. Hungary's Constitution of Hungary, constitution (2012) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Hungary. India's Constitution of India, constitution (1950) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of India. In India, prime ministerial candidates must be a member of parliament, i.e. of either the Lok Sabha (Lower House) or Rajya Sabha (Upper House). No parliamentary vote takes place on who forms a government. Ireland's Constitution of Ireland, constitution (1937), provides for the office of Taoiseach in detail, listing powers, functions and duties. Italy's Constitution of Italy, constitution (1948) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Italy, President of the Council of Ministers. Japan's Constitution of Japan, constitution (1946) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Japan. The Republic of Korea's Constitution of South Korea, constitution (1987) sections 86–87 list the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of South Korea, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea. Malta's Constitution of Malta, constitution (1964) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Malta. Malaysia's Constitution of Malaysia, constitution (1957) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Norway's Constitution of Norway, constitution (1814) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Norway Pakistan's Constitution of Pakistan, constitution (1973) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Spain's Spanish Constitution of 1978, constitution (1978) regulates the appointment, dismissal, powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Spain, President of the Government. Sri Lanka's Constitution of Sri Lanka, constitution (1978) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Thailand's Constitution of Thailand, constitution (1932) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Thailand. Taiwan's Constitution of the Republic of China, constitution (1946) lists the powers, functions and duties of the President of the Executive Yuan. The United Kingdom's Constitution of the United Kingdom, constitution, being uncodified constitution, uncodified and largely unwritten, makes no mention of a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 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 The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for services rendered ** Commission (art), the purchase o ...
(office in commission) or more rarely Chancellor of the Exchequer (the last of whom was Arthur Balfour, Balfour in 1905). :In such systems unwritten (and unenforceable) constitutional conventions often outline the order in which people are asked to form a government. If the prime minister resigns after a general election, the monarch usually asks the leader of the opposition to form a government. Where however a resignation occurs during a parliament session (unless the government has itself collapsed) the monarch will ask another member of the government to form a government. While previously the monarch had some leeway in whom to ask, all British political parties now elect their leaders (until 1965 the Conservative Party (UK), Conservatives chose their leader by informal consultation). The last time the monarch had a choice over the appointment occurred in 1963 when the Alec Douglas-Home, Earl of Home was asked to become Prime Minister ahead of Rab Butler. 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 (UK), Conservative Party while David Cameron was still prime minister. Ukraine's Constitution of Ukraine, constitution (1996) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Ukraine.


Lists of prime ministers

The following table groups the list of past and present prime ministers and details information available in those lists.


See also

*List of current prime ministers by date of assumption of office *Chancellor *Chief Minister *Governor-General *Head of government *Head of state *Monarch *President (government title), President *Prime ministerial government ;Lists: *List of current heads of state and government *List of democracy and election-related topics


Notes


References


Further reading

* Andrew Blick & George Jones
''Premiership:'' ''The Development, Nature and Power of the Office of the British Prime Minister''
(Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2010), . * Michael Foley
The British Presidency
(Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000) * Peter Hennessy,
The Prime Minister: The Office and Its Holders Since 1945
' (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001), . * Paul Langford
"Prime Ministers and Parliaments: The Long View, Walpole to Blair."
The Annual History of Parliament Lecture, 2005, ''Parliamentary History'', 25, 3 (2006): 382–394, doi:10.1353/pah.2006.0045. * Brian Carroll
''Australia's Prime Ministers: From Barton to Howard''
(Rosenberg Publishing, 2004) * James Manor
''Nehru to the Nineties: The Changing Office of Prime Minister in India''
(C. Hurst & Co., 1994) * Jagdish Chandra Sharma
''Indian Prime Ministership: A Comprehensive Study''
(Concept Publishing Company, 2002), . {{DEFAULTSORT:Prime Minister Prime ministers, Heads of government Titles Government ministers, +Prime Positions of authority 17th-century neologisms