Prime MinistersChapter 2 – The Executive
The Prime Minister
What do you know about the roles and powers of prime ministers?
• In Austria & Germany (Dr. Angela Merkel): chancellor
• Prime minister: not only the chief executive of the state [In Europe], but also the head of one of the legislative parties. (usually the largest) ( Great power [in particular in single-party majority governments as Greece (Kostas Karamanlis), Britain (Gordon Brown)] ( The lack of any separation between legislature and executive.
• In EU-style, the person who can muster a legislative majority ( Head of the executive
• In such countries, the threat to the Prime minister comes from the governing party.
Elements of power of the Prime minister:
(1) Approved by the legislature (i.e. Parliament) as the political head of the government. (Most important task of the legislature after an election has been held.)
- If the incumbent prime minister can collect the parliamentary votes to remain on office: he or she has “won” the election even if his party had large losses.
- The politicians campaigning in Parliamentary elections are typically party leaders.
- Electing/Approving a new prime minister is the central duty of a newly elected parliament. [Citizens vote for the party]
- If citizens want to change their chief executive in a parliamentary government system, they do so by voting in legislative elections.
(2) The modest role of head of state. Premier political figure. A strong prime minister personifies the government. He represents the government in domestic and international affairs. (Exception France: President, Nicolas Sarkozy)
(3) Massive political power. boss of the cabinet (i.e. government). When governments are coalitions this power is constrained by need to come to practical political terms with the leaders of other parties. Power to hire and fire cabinet ministers. ( immense power.
(4) He/She is the center of all decisions,...