Difference between Prime Ministers and Presidents

  • Created by: dbrennan
  • Created on: 12-12-18 15:48

Difference between Prime Ministers and Presidents


  • Prime Ministers:
  • -Head of the government
  • -Elected via Parliamentary elections
  • -Control of legislature
  • Collective Cabinet
  • No department


  • Presidents:
  • -Head of government and head of state
  • Separately elected
  • Independent legislature
  • 'Sounding board' Cabinet
  • Personal department

Overall comparison

Powers of the Prime Minister:-Appoint ministers and other senior figures (top judges, senior Bishops of the Church of England).-Dissolve and recall Parliament (reduced by Fixed-Term Parliament Act 2011).-Sign treaties.-Grant honours.-It is the Prime Minister's duty to exert influence and persuade government bodies, rather than dictate. He/she are the face of the UK political system and take control of three key relationships within Parliament: (1)The cabinet, individual ministers and government departments (2) His/her party in government and Parliament (3) Binding contract between him/her and the people. Prime-Ministerial government:-The growing power of the Prime Minister became prominent in the 19th century, when the PM could exert more dominance through the leverage of party leadership. -Richard Crossman (1963): cabinet government had been replaced by prime-ministerial government. The Prime Minister, and not the cabinet, dominates both the executive and Parliament. Presidentialism:-Since the 1990's, the UK political system has seen a growth in presidential-style leadership: Wilson, Thatcher and Blair.-View that the PM shows dominance over the cabinet. In the US, Presidents share executive power with their cabinet but they see it as a 'sounding board' and source of advice instead of a fused power. -Growth of 'Spatial leadership': PM distances themselves from their party and government by presenting themselves as 'outsiders'/developing a personal ideological stance (Thatcherism or Blairism). -Tendency towards 'unpopular outreach': PMs directly reach out to the public claiming that they will articulate their deepest hopes and fears. Speak for the Nation during major events. 'Cult of the outsider': PM try to present themselves as non-establishment figures on the side of the ordinary citizen.-Personalised election campaigns: The media paints elections as personal battles between the PM and the opposition. The PM therefore becomes the face of the political party, which forms the basis of the party's success or failure in an election. -Personal mandates: PM claims popular authority as a result of their electoral success. Wider use of special advisers:  PMs rely more on private political advisers rather than their cabinets, ministers and senior civil servants. The advisers usually have a personal loyalty to only the PM and not the party in government. -Strengthened Cabinet Office:  Size and resources available to the Cabinet Office have grown (small-scale Prime Minister's department responsible for coordinating the rest of Westminster). 


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