Executive (government)

Vanhanen II Cabinet in a session of Finnish Parliament in 2007.

Part of government that enforces law, and has responsibility for the governance of a state.

- Executive (government)
Vanhanen II Cabinet in a session of Finnish Parliament in 2007.

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The principles from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen still have constitutional importance

Parliamentary sovereignty

Concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies.

Concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies.

The principles from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen still have constitutional importance

It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies.

The British Houses of Parliament are situated within the Palace of Westminster, in London

Westminster system

Type of parliamentary government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature.

Type of parliamentary government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature.

The British Houses of Parliament are situated within the Palace of Westminster, in London
Canadian Parliament at night
The Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House) building in New Delhi, India
Knesset Building, Jerusalem
The Australian Senate

Key aspects of the system include an executive branch made up of members of the legislature, and that is responsible to the legislature; the presence of parliamentary opposition parties; and a ceremonial head of state who is different from the head of government.

The outgoing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (right) congratulates the incoming Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (left) upon losing the no confidence vote on 1 June 2018.

Motion of no confidence

Statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, management, etc.) is still deemed fit to hold that position, such as because they are inadequate in some aspect, fail to carry out their obligations, or make decisions that other members feel to be detrimental.

Statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, management, etc.) is still deemed fit to hold that position, such as because they are inadequate in some aspect, fail to carry out their obligations, or make decisions that other members feel to be detrimental.

The outgoing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (right) congratulates the incoming Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (left) upon losing the no confidence vote on 1 June 2018.

The parliamentary motion demonstrates to the head of state that the elected Parliament either has or no longer has confidence in one or more members of the appointed government.

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

Head of government

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and President Christina Kirchner of Argentina in 2015.
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 (South Africa), Winston Churchill (United Kingdom), Peter Fraser (New Zealand), and John Curtin (Australia).

The head of government is either the highest or the second-highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments.

Prime ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries in 2014. From left: Erna Solberg, Norway; Algirdas Butkevičius, Lithuania; Laimdota Straujuma, Latvia; Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Iceland; Alexander Stubb, Finland; Anne Sulling, Estonia (trade minister); Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark; Stefan Löfven, Sweden.

Prime minister

Prime ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries in 2014. From left: Erna Solberg, Norway; Algirdas Butkevičius, Lithuania; Laimdota Straujuma, Latvia; Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Iceland; Alexander Stubb, Finland; Anne Sulling, Estonia (trade minister); Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark; Stefan Löfven, Sweden.
Narendra Modi, The Prime Minister of India
The prime ministers of five members of the Commonwealth of Nations at the 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964), the first Prime minister of India
John A. Macdonald (1815–1891), first Canadian Prime Minister.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1916–2000), former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the first female head of government
British prime minister William Pitt (1759–1806), the youngest head of government at the age of 24.
Countries with prime ministers (blue) and those that formerly had that position (dark red + Mexico).

A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system.

World administrative levels

Presidential system

World administrative levels

A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government, typically with the title of president, leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in systems that use separation of powers.

Egyptian foreign minister (1991-2001) Amr Moussa.

Foreign minister

Generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations.

Generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations.

Egyptian foreign minister (1991-2001) Amr Moussa.

Similarly, the political powers invested in the foreign minister are often more limited in presidential governments with a strong executive branch.

Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava is the seat of the President of Slovakia.

Head of state

Public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy.

Public persona who officially embodies a state in its unity and legitimacy.

Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava is the seat of the President of Slovakia.
World's parliamentary states (as of 2022): Republics with an executive president elected by a parliament Parliamentary republics Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch usually does not personally exercise power Presidential republics, one-party states, and other forms of government
Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom and 14 other countries
Charles de Gaulle, President and head of state of the French Fifth Republic (1959–1969)
George Washington, the first president of the United States, set the precedent for an executive head of state in republican systems of government
George V, Emperor of India, and Empress Mary at the Delhi Durbar, 1911.
Tekiso Hati, ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho, presenting his credentials to Russian president Vladimir Putin
Daniel B. Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel, presents his credentials to Israeli president Shimon Peres on 3 August 2011
A 1992 Letter of Credence, written in French, for the Czechoslovakian Ambassador to Lithuania, signed by the President of Czechoslovakia and addressed to his Lithuanian counterpart
Albert II, King of the Belgians inspecting troops on Belgium's national day in 2011
Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and General Jean-Louis Georgelin, Chief of the Defence Staff, reviewing troops during the 2008 Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Élysées in Paris
Francis, from March 2013 the sovereign of the Vatican City State, an ex officio role of the Pope
Abdulmecid II is the 150th and last Caliph of Islam from Ottoman dynasty
Four generations of Danish kings in 1903: King Christian IX (left), Christian (X) (back), Frederick (VIII) (right), and Frederick (IX) (front)
The National Monument to Emperor Wilhelm I in Berlin, Germany, dedicated 1897, nearly 10 years after his death. The monument was destroyed by the communist government in 1950.
Title page of 1550 Italian edition of Machiavelli's The Prince
Bodin named on title page of Discorsi politici (1602) by Fabio Albergati who compared Bodin's political theories unfavourably with those of Aristotle
Frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651)

In parliamentary systems the head of state may be merely the nominal chief executive officer, heading the executive branch of the state, and possessing limited executive power.

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser making a speech in 1960

President (government title)

Common title for the head of state in most republics.

Common title for the head of state in most republics.

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser making a speech in 1960
George Washington, the first President of the United States
Presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff of the United States and Brazil.
Presidents Johnson-Sirleaf and Bush of Liberia and the United States.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Presidents Pratibha Patil of India and Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.
The seven-member Swiss Federal Council serves as collective head of government and state of Switzerland.

After the abolition of the monarchy the English Council of State, whose members were elected by the House of Commons, became the executive government of the Commonwealth.

John Locke

Separation of powers

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

John Locke
Montesquieu
George Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution

The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is sometimes called the trias politica model.