In a parliamentary democracy, the executive and the legislature are bound together – unlike in a presidential democratic system, such as the one in the United States, in which the president is separate from the legislative branch. The head of government in a parliamentary system is most commonly known as the prime minister, but is in some cases also called the premier.

Prime Ministers

In parliamentary systems, the prime minister is not elected directly by the people. Instead, he or she is appointed by the head of state – in Great Britain, the monarch – which in many countries is a formality in modern times. Most often the prime minister is a member of the legislative branch of government, and the leader of that branch’s majority party or coalition. The prime minister functions as head of government, meaning he or she appoints the cabinet and oversees the execution of the policies passed by the parliament.