In what way is the position "president" different in presidential and parliamentary democracies? Presidential would be like in the USA and parliamentary would be like the UK's system.

  • Are you asking this about the US specifically (given the US tag)? If so, please clarify that.
    – JJJ
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 15:59
  • Yes sorry, justy did Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 16:08
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    VtC as unclear. Please edit your question so it's less confusing. Might you be wondering what the difference is between the powers of the US president and the EU president? Or do you have something else in mind? Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 17:00
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    There is no president in the UK (there is only a prime minister and a monarch). But there are parliamentary republics which do have a president as (mostly) ceremonial head of state in addition to the executive head of government, like Germany, India or Italy, for example.
    – Philipp
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


The US has a constitution. Most EU states also have constitutions. I believe what you mean with your question is the difference between heads of government in parliamentary democracies vs. presidential democracies.

The key difference, in a typical parliamentary democracy the parliament can replace the head of government at any time, for political reasons.

  • This could be a vote of no confidence, as in "This House has no confidence in the Prime Minister." If the motion passes with a majority, the head of government must go and a new head of government must find a majority. Who gets to try differs from country to country, usually someone makes a judgement call as to who might be able to find a majority in parliament. If there is no majority, the rules might call for new parliamentary elections.
  • This could be a constructive vote of no confidence, as in "This House wants John Doe as new Chancellor." Here a majority against the old head of government isn't enough, it must be a majority for a new one before the old one has to go.

Of course knowing that this is possible will alter the shape of politics. When a head of government must have the support of parliament, he or she must respect the wishes of a majority of the legislators much more than a head of government who "merely" needs to pass a budget every now and then.


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