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A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. The position is usually held by, but need not always be held by, a politician. In many systems, the prime minister selects and can 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 of the cabinet. In a minority of systems, notably in semi-presidential systems of government, a prime minister is the official who is appointed to manage the civil service and execute the directives of the president.

In parliamentary systems fashioned after the Westminster system, the prime minister is the presiding and actual head of the government and head of the executive branch. In such systems, the head of state or the head of state's official representative (i.e the monarch, president, or governor-general), although officially the head of the executive branch, in fact holds a ceremonial position. The prime minister is often, but not always, a member of parliament and is expected with other ministers to ensure the passage of bills through the legislature. In some monarchies the monarch may also exercise executive powers (known as the royal prerogative) which are constitutionally vested in the crown and can be exercised without the approval of parliament.

As well as being head of government, a prime minister may have other roles or titles the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, for example, is also First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Prime ministers may take other ministerial posts for example during the Second World War Winston Churchill was also Minister of Defence (although there was then no Ministry of Defence). The Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, was famous for forming his cabinet entirely of himself and his deputy as soon as the overall result of the 1972 federal election was beyond doubt (see First Whitlam Ministry).


The first actual usage of the term prime minister or Premier Ministre was used by Cardinal Richelieu when in 1625 he was named to head the royal council as prime minister of France. Louis XIV and his descendants generally attempted to avoid giving this title to their chief ministers.The term prime minister in the sense that we know it originated in the 18th century in the United Kingdommarker. Since medieval times 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 under Henry VIII; William Cecil, Lord Burghley under Elizabeth I; Clarendon under Charles II and Godolphin under Queen Anne. These ministers held a variety of formal posts, but were commonly known as "the 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, 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 becoming too powerful. Late in Anne's reign, for example, the Tory ministers Harley and St John shared power.

In the mid 17th century, after the English Civil War and the Protectorate, Parliament had strengthened its position and it emerged even more powerful after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The monarch could not establish any law or impose any tax without its permission.Thus it has been said that the House of Commons became a part of the government and it has been only a further step of this development that a new kind of prime minister should emerge. This turning point in the evolution of the prime ministership came with the death of Anne in 1714 and the accession of George I. George spoke no English, spent much of his time at his home in Hanovermarker, 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 politician 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 Commonsmarker 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, 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. The title was first referred to on government documents during the administration of Benjamin Disraeli but did not appear in the formal British Order of precedence until 1905. George II and George III 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 Pitt the Younger (1783-1801), combined with the mental illness of George III, consolidated the power of the post.

The prestige of British institutions in the 19th century and the growth of the 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. 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 or a ceremonial president. The main exceptions to this system have been the United Statesmarker and the presidential republics in Latin America, modelled on the U.S. system, in which the president directly exercises executive authority.

Prime ministers in republics and in monarchies

The post of prime minister may be encountered both in constitutional monarchies (such as Belgium, Denmark, Japan, The Netherlandsmarker, Norway, Malaysia, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom), and in republics in which the head of state is an elected official (such as Finlandmarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Greecemarker, Indiamarker, Italymarker, Irelandmarker, Portugalmarker, Montenegromarker, Croatiamarker, Bulgariamarker, Romaniamarker, Serbiamarker, Turkeymarker) or an unelected official (such as Singaporemarker before 1993) with varying degrees of real power. This contrasts with the presidential system, in which the president (or equivalent) is both the head of state and the head of the government. See also "First Minister", "Premier", "Chief Minister", "Chancellor", "Taoiseach" and "Secretary of State": alternative titles usually equivalent in meaning to, or translated as, "prime minister". The head of government of the People's Republic of Chinamarker is referred to as the Premier.

In some presidential or semi-presidential systems, such as those of France, Russia or South Korea, 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 premier of the Republic of China is also appointed by the 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 can 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.

Entry into office

In parliamentary systems a prime minister can enter into office by several means.

  • By appointment by the head of state, without reference to parliament: While in practice most prime ministers under the Westminster system (including Australia, Canadamarker, New Zealandmarker, Malaysiamarker, Indiamarker and the United Kingdommarker) are the leaders of the largest party in parliament, technically the appointment of the prime minister is a royal prerogative exercised by the monarch or the governor-general. In Indiamarker, the Prime Ministerial candidate must be a member of parliament either Lok Sabha (Lower House) or Rajya Sabha (Upper House). No parliamentary vote takes place on who is forming a government. However as the government will have to outline its legislative programme to parliament in, for example, the Speech from the Throne, the speech is sometimes used to test parliamentary support. A defeat on the Speech is taken to mean a loss of confidence and so requires either a new draft (a humiliating act no government would contemplate), resignation, or a request for a dissolution of parliament. Until the early 20th century governments when defeated in a general election remained in power until their Speech from the Throne was defeated and then resigned. No government has done so for one hundred years, though Edward Heath in 1974 did delay his resignation while he explored whether he could form a government with Liberal party support.

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 chose their leader by informal consultation). The last time the monarch had a choice over the appointment occurred in 1963 when the 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 or governor-general, that person is variously referred to as the "prime minister-elect", "...-designate" etc. 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 2003 in Canada when Paul Martin was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada while Jean Chrétien was still prime minister.

  • Appointment by the head of state after parliament nominates a candidate: Example: The Republic of Irelandmarker where the President of Ireland appoints the Taoiseach on the nomination of the Dáil Éireann.
  • The head of state nominates a candidate for prime minister who is then submitted to parliament for approval before appointment as prime minister: Example: Spainmarker, where the King sends a nomination to parliament for approval. Also Germanymarker where under the German Basic Law (constitution) the Bundestagmarker votes on a candidate nominated by the federal president. In these cases, parliament can choose another candidate who then would be appointed by the head of state.
  • The head of state appoints a prime minister who has a set timescale within which s/he must gain a vote of confidence: (Example: Italymarker, Romaniamarker, Thailandmarker)
  • The head of state appoints the leader of the political party with the majority of the votes in the Parliament as Prime Minister: (Example: Greecemarker)
  • Direct election by parliament: (Example: Japanmarker, Papua New Guineamarker, Pakistanmarker.)
  • Direct election by popular vote: (Example: Israelmarker, 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 Instrument of Government, the power to appoint someone to form a government has been moved from the 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).

Prime ministers and constitutions

The position, power and status of prime ministers differ depending on the age of the constitution.

Australia's constitution makes no mention of a Prime Minister of Australia.

China's constitution set a prime minister just one place below the president of China. While the president deals with international problems, the prime minister deals with national problems. For example, the earth quake in 2008, the prime minister will be the first to arrive, then the president arrived after to just examine the situation. Prime minister read as "Zong Li" in Chinese.

Canada's constitution, being a 'mixed' or hybrid constitution (a constitution that is partly formally codified and partly uncodified) originally did not make any reference whatsoever to a prime minister, with her or his specific duties and method of appointment instead dictated by "convention." In the Constitution Act, 1982, passing reference to a "Prime Minister of Canada" is added, though only regarding the composition of conferences of federal and provincial first minister.

Germany's Basic Law (1949) lists the powers, functions and duties of the federal chancellor.

Greece's constitution (1975) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Greece.

India's constitution (1950) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of India.

Ireland's constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann (1937), provides for the office of Taoiseach in detail, listing powers, functions and duties.

Italy's constitution (1948) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Italy.

Japan's constitution (1946) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Japan.

Malta's constitution (1964) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Malta.

Malaysia's constitution (1957) lists the powers, functions and duties of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The United Kingdom's constitution, being uncodified and largely unwritten, makes no mention of a 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 (office in commission), or more rarely Chancellor of the Exchequer (the last of whom was Balfour in 1905).

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 Commonsmarker after a general election to 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 Irishmarker 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, governments are generally required to have the confidence of the lower house of parliament (though a small minority of parliaments, by giving a right to block supply to upper houses, in effect make the cabinet 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:

a) a letter of resignation or

b) a request for parliamentary dissolution.

The latter in effect allows the government to appeal the opposition of parliament to the 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. (In the United Kingdommarker, 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 (the then name for the Irish cabinet).


Different terms are used to describe prime ministers. In Germanymarker and Austriamarker the prime minister is actually titled Federal Chancellor ( ). In Russian Provisional Government the prime minister is actually titled Minister-Chairman while the Irish prime minister is called the (which is rendered into English as prime minister), and in Israelmarker he is 'Rosh Memshalah' meaning head of government. In many cases, though commonly used, "prime minister" is not the official title of the office-holder; the Spanish prime minister is the Chairman of the Government ( ). Other common forms include president of the council of ministers (for example in Italymarker, ), President of the Executive Council, or Minister-President. In the Scandinavian countries the prime minister is called statsminister in the native languages (i.e. state minister). In federations, the head of government of subnational entities such as provinces is most commonly known as the premier, chief minister, governor or minister-president.

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, for example in the Prime Minister of Canada. 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 of being current members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.

In the UK where devolved government is in place, the leaders of the Scottish, Northern Ireland and Welsh Governments are styled First Minister.

In Pakistanmarker, the prime minister is referred to as "Wazir-e-Azam", meaning "Grand Vizier".

Chairman or Chief?

Irish political scientist Professor Brian Farrell coined the term Chairman or Chief to describe the two alternative concepts of prime ministerial leadership, in his book of the same name about the office of Taoiseach. The term, widely used in political science worldwide, draws a distinction between a head of government who is merely a facilitator and co-ordinator of a cabinet (the "chairman"), and those who lead it forcefully from the front, setting its policy agenda and requiring all ministers to follow the leader's policies (the "chief").

Examples of "chairmen" have included Bertie Ahern (Ireland), John Major (United Kingdom) and Couve de Murville (France), while examples of "chiefs" included Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (India), Seán Lemass (Ireland), Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair (United Kingdom), and Jacques Chirac when prime minister under cohabitation.

Not every prime minister fits exclusively into either category: Éamon de Valera, though a strong personality, was only interested in controlling some of his government's agenda (usually constitutional matters and Anglo-Irish affairs), and allowed large areas to be decided by his colleagues. Though superficially a chief (and called "the Chief" [the literal translation of Taoiseach] by his colleagues) historians see him as more of a chairman, particularly in later governments. Winston Churchill too, though superficially a "chief", was more chairmanlike in later governments and in those areas in which he had little personal interest.

As well as describing office holders, individual offices could be described as belonging to one or other category. Among the more dominant prime ministerial offices in terms of powers, and so more chieflike, are the premierships of Ireland and Spain, where premiers can hire and fire at will. In contrast, offices such as President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, Prime Minister of the Third French Republic, and the premierships of Belgiummarker and The Netherlandsmarker are more chairmanlike in format. Lijphart referred to the premiership of the Netherlands as "primus inter pares without due emphasis on primus".

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 commas and full stops. 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.

Lists of Prime ministers

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

Government List starts Table shows
Term given by
years or dates?
Afghanistan 1927 - years (Post Abolished)
Albania 1912 - years Sali Berisha
Algeria 1962 yes years Ahmed Ouyahia
Andorra 1982 - years Jaume Bartumeu
Angola 1975 - dates Paulo Kassoma
Anguilla 1976 yes dates Osbourne Fleming
Antigua and Barbuda 1981 - years Baldwin Spencer
Armenia 1918 yes dates Tigran Sargsyan
Aruba 1986 - dates Nelson O. Oduber
Australia 1901 yes dates Kevin Rudd
Austria 1918 yes years Werner Faymann
Azerbaijan 1918 yes dates Artur Rasizade
Bahamas 1967 - dates Hubert Ingraham
Bahrain 1970 - years Sheikh Khalifah ibn Sulman Al Khalifah
Bangladesh 1971 yes dates Sheikh Hasina
Barbados 1954 yes dates David Thompson
Belarus 1919 - dates Sergey Sidorsky
Belgium 1831 yes dates Yves Leterme
Belize 1973 yes years Dean Barrow
Benin 1957 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Bermuda 1968 yes dates Ewart Brown
Bhutan 1952 - dates Jigme Thinley
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1943 - dates Nikola Špirić
Botswana 1965 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Brazil 1847 yes dates (Post Abolished)
British Virgin Islands 1967 yes dates Ralph T. O'Neal
Bulgaria 1879 yes dates Boyko Borisov
Burkina Faso 1971 - dates Tertius Zongo
Burundi 1961 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Cambodia 1996 - years Hun Sen
Cameroon 1960 - dates Ephraïm Inoni
Canada 1867 yes dates Stephen Harper
Cape Verde 1975 - dates José Maria Neves
Cayman Islands 1992 yes dates Kurt Tibbetts
Central African Republic 1958 - dates Faustin-Archange Touadéra
Chad 1978 - dates Youssouf Saleh Abbas
China 1949 - dates Wen Jiabao
Comoros 1957 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Congo 1957 yes dates Isidore Mvouba
Congo 1960 yes dates Adolphe Muzito
Cook Islands 1965 yes dates Jim Marurai
Côte d'Ivoire 1957 yes dates Guillaume Soro
Croatia 1939 - dates Jadranka Kosor
Cuba 1940 - dates Raúl Castro
Czech Republic 1969 - years Jan Fischer
Denmark 1848 - years Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Djibouti 1977 - dates Dileita Mohamed Dileita
Dominica 1960 - dates Roosevelt Skerrit
East Timor 2002 - dates Xanana Gusmão
Egypt 1878 - years Ahmed Nazif
Equatorial Guinea 1963 - dates Ignacio Milam Tang
Estonia 1918 - dates Andrus Ansip
Ethiopia 1942 yes dates Meles Zenawi
Faroe Islands 1946 - years Kaj Leo Johannesen
Fiji 1966 - dates Frank Bainimarama (interim)
Finland 1917 yes years Matti Vanhanen
France 1915 - years François Fillon
Gabon 1957 yes dates Jean Eyeghe Ndong
The Gambia 1961 - dates (Post Abolished)
Ghana 1957 - dates (Post Abolished)
Georgia 1918 yes dates Nikoloz Gilauri
Germany 1871/1949 yes dates Angela Merkel
Gibraltar 1964 yes dates Peter Caruana
Greece 1833 - dates George Papandreou
Greenland 1979 - years Kuupik Kleist
Grenada 1954 - years Tillman Thomas
Guernsey 2007 - dates Lyndon Trott
Guinea 1972 - dates Kabiné Komara
Guinea-Bissau 1973 - dates Carlos Gomes Júnior
Guyana 1953 - dates Sam Hinds
Haiti 1988 - dates Michèle Pierre-Louis
Hungary 1848 - dates Gordon Bajnai
Iceland 1904 - dates Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
India 1947 yes dates Manmohan Singh
Indonesia 1945 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Iran 1824 - years (Post Abolished)
Iraq 1920 - years Nouri al-Maliki
Ireland 1937 yes dates Brian Cowen
Israel 1948 - years Benjamin Netanyahu
Italy 1861 - years Silvio Berlusconi
Jamaica 1959 - years Bruce Golding
Japan 1885 - dates Yukio Hatoyama
Jersey 2005 - dates Terry Le Sueur
Jordan 1944 - dates Nader al-Dahabi
Kazakhstan 1920 - years Karim Masimov
Kenya 1963 - dates Raila Odinga
North Korea 1948 - years Kim Yong-il
South Korea 1948 - years Han Seung-soo
Kuwait 1962 - dates Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah
Kyrgyzstan 1924 - dates Igor Chudinov
Laos 1941 - years Bouasone Bouphavanh
Latvia 1918 yes dates Valdis Dombrovskis
Lebanon 1926 - dates Fouad Siniora
Lesotho 1965 yes dates Pakalitha Mosisili
Libya 1951 - dates Baghdadi Mahmudi
Liechtenstein 1921 yes dates Klaus Tschütscher
Lithuania 1918 yes dates Andrius Kubilius
Luxembourg 1959 - years Jean-Claude Juncker
Macedonia 1943 yes dates Nikola Gruevski
Madagascar 1833 - dates Charles Rabemananjara
Malawi 1963 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Malaysia 1957 yes years Najib Tun Razak
Mali 1957 yes dates Modibo Sidibé
Malta 1921 yes years Lawrence Gonzi
Isle of Man 1986 - years Tony Brown
Mauritania 1957 yes dates Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf
Mauritius 1961 yes dates Navin Ramgoolam
Moldova 1990 - dates Zinaida Greceanîi
Monaco 1911 n/a dates Jean-Paul Proust
Mongolia 1912 yes dates Sanjaagiin Bayar
Montenegro 1879 yes dates Milo Đukanović
Montserrat 1960 yes dates Lowell Lewis
Morocco 1955 yes years Abbas El Fassi
Mozambique 1974 yes dates Luisa Diogo
Myanmar 1948 yes dates Thein Sein
Namibia 1990 yes dates Nahas Angula
Nepal 1953 - dates Madhav Kumar Nepal
Netherlands (List) 1848 yes dates Jan Peter Balkenende
Netherlands Antilles 1954 yes years Emily de Jongh-Elhage
New Zealand 1856 yes dates John Key
Newfoundland 1855 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Niue 1974 - dates Toke Talagi
Niger 1958 yes dates Seyni Oumarou
Norfolk Island 1896 - dates Andre Nobbs
Norway 1814 yes years Jens Stoltenberg
Pakistan 1947 - dates Yousaf Raza Gillani
Palestinian National Authority 2003 yes dates Salam Fayyad
Papua New Guinea 1975 yes years Sir Michael Somare
Peru 1975 yes dates Yehude Simon
Philippines 1899 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Poland 1917 - dates Donald Tusk
Portugal 1834 yes dates José Sócrates
Qatar 1972 - dates Sheikh Hamad ibn Jassim ibn Jabr Al Thani
Romania 1862 - years Emil Boc
Russia 1864/1906 yes dates Vladimir Putin
Rwanda 1960 yes dates Bernard Makuza
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1960 - dates Denzil Douglas
Saint Lucia 1960 - dates Stephenson King
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1956 - dates Ralph Gonsalves
Samoa 1875 yes dates Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi
São Tomé and Principe 1974 yes dates Joaquim Rafael Branco
Senegal 1957 yes dates Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré
Serbia 1805 yes years Mirko Cvetković
Singapore 1959 - dates Lee Hsien Loong
Slovakia 1918 - dates Robert Fico
Slovenia 1943 yes years Borut Pahor
Solomon Islands 1949 yes dates Derek Sikua
Somalia 1949 yes dates Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
South Africa 1910 - dates (Post Abolished)
Spain 1705 yes years Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Sri Lanka 1948 - dates Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Sudan 1952 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Swaziland 1967 - years Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini
Sweden 1876 yes years Fredrik Reinfeldt
Syria 1920 - dates Muhammad Naji al-Otari
China 1911 - dates Liu Chao-shiuan
Tajikistan 1924 - dates Okil Okilov
Tanzania 1960 yes dates Mizengo Pinda
Thailand 1932 - dates Abhisit Vejjajiva
Togo 1956 yes dates Gilbert Houngbo
Tokelau 1992 - dates Pio Tuia
Tonga 1876 - years Feleti Sevele
Trinidad and Tobago 1956 - dates Patrick Manning
Tunisia 1969 - dates Mohamed Ghannouchi
Turkmenistan 1924 - dates (Post Abolished)
Turkey 1920 yes dates Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turks and Caicos Islands 1976 yes dates Galmo Williams
Tuvalu 1975 n/a dates Apisai Ielemia
Uganda 1961 yes dates Apolo Nsibambi
Ukraine 1917 - dates Yulia Tymoshenko
United Arab Emirates 1971 - years Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
United Kingdom 1721 yes dates Gordon Brown
Uzbekistan 1924 - dates Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Vanuatu 1980 yes dates Edward Natapei
Vatican 1644 - years Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Vietnam 1976 yes dates Nguyễn Tấn Dũng
Yemen 1990 yes years Ali Muhammad Mujawar
Zambia 1964 yes dates (Post Abolished)
Zimbabwe 1923 - dates Morgan Tsvangirai


  1. Contrary to popular perception the two posts are separate and need not be held by the one person. The last prime minister not to be First Lord of the Treasury was Lord Salisbury at the turn of the 20th century. 10 Downing Street is actually the First Lord's residence, not the Prime Minister's. As Salisbury was not First Lord he had to live elsewhere as prime minister.
  2. Although the roles of the Spanish head of government coincide with the definition of a 'prime minister', in Spain the position is in fact referred to as 'the Presidency of the Government'
  3. Brian F. Farrell, Chairman or Chief? The Role of Taoiseach in Irish Government (1971)
  4. Jean Blondel & Ferdinand Muller-Rommel Cabinets in Western Europe Macmillan, 1993 edition.
  5. Wilfried Martens, quoted in ibid.

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