A prime minister is often an element of a parliamentary government, while constitutional republics have presidents. Their roles and degree of power differ substantially from one country to another. In constitutional monarchies, like the United Kingdom, the prime minister often assumes the role of a chief executive while the official executive—the monarch—only holds symbolic authority. In other countries, like France and Russia, the prime minister and president share power.Know More
A prime minister acts as head of government, ensuring the passage of bills through the legislature and managing the civil service. In this respect, he is similar to a president, who is the head of his country's executive branch. Presidents, however, are normally popularly elected to their offices. A prime minister may be popularly elected at some point if he is a member of parliament, but he is either chosen by his party or by the chief executive.
The office of prime minister is an outgrowth of a monarchical government. Monarchs organized cabinets to help them govern the country, and the prime minister was the chief cabinet officer. As the authority of monarchs declined and parliaments assumed dominance in constitutional monarchies, the majority parties in legislatures began selecting prime ministers. In the modern era, the approval that monarchs give to prime ministers in such governments is merely ceremonial. Presidents, however, are generally a characteristic of constitutional republics, popular governments that develop without the monarchical element.Learn More
Neville Chamberlain was prime minister of the United Kingdom before Winston Churchill. Chamberlain took office on May 28, 1937, and his tenure was ended on May 10, 1940.Full Answer >
At the outbreak of World War II, which was sparked by the 1939 German invasion of Poland, Neville Chamberlain was the prime minister of the United Kingdom; he was succeeded by Winston Churchill in 1940, who remained prime minister until July 1945. Clement Attlee replaced Churchill as prime minister in July 1945 and, although the war was technically still ongoing at that point, Attlee is not considered to be a wartime prime minister. The United Kingdom had suspended elections during the war, and elections were not held again until Germany had surrendered.Full Answer >
In a parliamentary system, legislative bodies are elected by the people, and they then elect one of their own members to be the prime minister or executive leader. Additionally, the prime minister's cabinet is elected by the legislature from its own members.Full Answer >
Japan has a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister and a constitutional monarchy headed by the emperor. Like the United States government, the government of Japan has three branches: executive, judicial and legislative.Full Answer >