President vs Prime Minister
There are various political structures in place in different countries. While there are Presidential forms of governments, there are also democracies and even dictatorships. But we are here to discuss the difference between President and Prime Minister. There are countries where President is the all powerful head of the state but there are also democracies where he is a mere rubber stamp or a ceremonial head. It all depends upon the polity of the country as well as the system of election of the President and the Prime Minister that decides who is at the helm of affairs.
Let us take up examples to understand the relation between a President and the Prime Minister.
The US, which is a big democracy of the word, has a Presidential form of democracy where there is no Prime Minister and the President has all the powers in his hands. However, there is a proper system of checks and balances in place as he is answerable to the congress for his actions. The President is elected directly by the people which means that he cannot be ousted by the senate or the congress unless there are grim charges leveled against him. The President is at liberty to appoint ministers and there have been cases of Presidents picking up people from various parties depending upon their capabilities.
The largest democracy of the world, India, has a parliamentary system of democracy modeled along Britain from which it learnt the importance of democratic institutions. Here, neither Prime Minister nor the President is directly elected by the people. President is the head of the state, while the Prime Minister is the head of the government. The President is chosen by a college of electorates while Prime Minister is appointed by the President from the party having majority in the lower house of the parliament which is Lok Sabha. President in India is a ceremonial head while all executive powers are vested in the Prime Minister.
It is a fact that in countries with a Presidency in place, Prime Ministers are weak. For example in France, though the system is similar to the polity in the US, the President has to appoint a Prime Minister. Of course he chooses a person from his own political party who remains loyal to him and a toothless tiger.
In UK, there is no President in place and the Prime Minister from the party having majority in the parliament is appointed by the Queen, who is the ceremonial head of the government.
President vs Prime Minister
• It is thus clear that even in countries with both the President and a Prime Minister; one of the posts is dominant which is better than to have two power centers.
• Whether democracy or not, it is the system of election of President and the Prime Minister that decides relations between the two.
• In countries like US and France, President is the most powerful executive. While there is no Prime Minister in US, in France, the President appoints a Prime Minister.