Politics in Minutes (2016)

Presidential government

Despite the almost universal rejection of absolute monarchy in favour of democracy, and antipathy to any form of tyrannical dictatorship, it seems that human nature favours some form of leadership. This is reflected in the models of representative democracy that have evolved, which almost invariably include the election of a single leader, such as a prime minister or president.

In a presidential system of government, the president is elected separately from the legislative body. Often this is a position of real power and responsibility, with the president acting as head of the executive branch of the government. As the chief executive, he or she plays an active role in the government of the country, often appointing ministers who similarly belong to the executive and oversee government departments. Some countries, however, have an essentially parliamentary system (see here), in which the president is an honorary head of state with little or no real power.