Difference Between President and Prime Minister


Primary Difference

Just like different forms of government exist, there are also different forms of rulers which run the country on the basis of their peoples will, political power or other factors. Usually it is said that the president of the United States is most powerful person in this world and therefore many people assume that a president has more power as compared to other types of leaders. Similarly, Iran has a supreme leader as the head of state, while Saudi Arabia has kingship. Many other countries have a Prime Minister. All of them have different powers and ways of running a country and the two among these are President and the Prime Minster. These two are the main head of states in different parts of the world and have various differences among them which will be detailed in this article. The main difference is that; a Prime Minister is the head of a parliamentary form of government while a president is the head in the presidential form of government. There is no requirement of having a prime minister when the presidential system is intact while there is always a president even when parliamentary system is implemented. President keeps the main powers of passing a legislation with itself in both the systems while the president does not have these power in the presidential system. Usually a prime minister is appointed by elected group of people or by another head of state such as Queen in the United Kingdom but a president is always the leader of its party and selected with the consent of parliament. Meeting the head of states in most cases is the responsibility of the president while prime minister may or may not perform these activities. From this, it can be concurred that a president is the head of state as well as the head of government while a prime minister is the head of the government. The responsibility of the prime minister includes making policies, trade agreements and other daily matters while the president has the duty to approve these actions in due course. When the prime minster takes the main role in a parliamentary system the president becomes just a symbol while the same case happens if president appoints a prime minister in a presidential system. Brief descriptions on both these types of leaders is given in the next two paragraphs while differences will be discussed again at the end.

Comparison Chart

PresidentPrime Minister
In a presidential system is the head of the governmentIn a parliamentary system is the head of the government
head of a countryhead of a government
Approving all the deals.Making trade agreements and other deals.
A president can remove prime minister of a countrya prime minister cannot remove the president

Definition of Prime Minister

The Prime Minister in a parliamentary system is the head of the government who is responsible for all the decisions that are made throughout the term and also make sure the best interests of the country are kept in mind. He also has the duty to meet different leaders of the world and make trade agreements as well as defense agreements. The PM also has the duty to make laws and legislate the matters which the government had promised people before coming in power. Mostly he is free of any external pressures but in some cases, when appointed by the president or queen, the role becomes a mere formality. In a proper system he is the head of the country and comes into power after winning majority of the seats in elections. They can be removed anytime by the president and have the duty to appoint different people in key positions to run the system in a proper way.


Definition of President

This is not the most famously followed political leader role since most of the power and working capacity lies with the prime minster but president is considered the head of country and no law can be passed without their signature. They also have the power to appoint a prime minister or remove them if the work is not satisfactory. There isn’t always a PM when power is with President and the best example of this is the United Sates where President holds the power throughout its reign. Many other countries appoint this post as a ceremonial and a person who does not actually have the right criteria since there is no obligation to appoint a president from the member of parliaments anyone who belongs to the county can be appointed at this post in a parliamentary system. This system is not that common in the world but has the main source of power with one person just like monarchy.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. A prime minster is the head of a government while a president is the head of the country.
  2. A prime minster has to be the member of parliament while a president can be selected from a non-parliament member.
  3. In general terms, a president signs off the official documents while a prime minister actually makes those documents.
  4. Making trade agreements and other deals is the responsibility of a prime minister while approving these is the duty of a president.
  5. A president can remove prime minister of a country while a prime minister cannot remove the president and can only be done so with the help of parliament.
  6. In most parliamentary systems prime minister is the head of state while in the presidential system, president is the head of state.
  7. In case of army takeover, the army chief can assume the post of president while he cannot become a prime minister.
  8. The head of government and country in America is the president while in the UK, the prime minister is appointed as head of the government by the queen who is the head of state.


There are many differences between the two terms, that have been listed down in detail with a broader explanation. They may be related in a way that the aim is to provide details to others but their usage and the context in which they are spoken are variable. Expectantly, you can easily make the difference.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss