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The term General Secretary (alternatively First Secretary) denotes a leader of various unions, parties, churches or associations. The most notable usages are the following:

  • The official title of the leader of most Communist parties was the General Secretary of the Central Committee. When a Communist party is in power, the General Secretary is the country's de facto leader.

  • The General Secretary (or First Secretary) may also be the title used by the head of a political party or group such as the Labour Party but this usage is most often associated with the leadership of communist political organisations.

  • The General Secretary may also be the head of a trade union, particularly in the United Kingdommarker or another association such as a federation of agriculture or farmer's union or a co-operative.

The General Secretary's office or department is often referred to as the Secretariat.

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