Definition: This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, and the beginning date in office. Cabinet includes the official name of the executive branchâ€™s high-ranking body and the method of member selection. Elections/appointments includes the process for accession to office, date of the last election, and date of the next election. Election results includes each candidate's political affiliation, percent of direct popular vote or indirect legislative/parliamentary percent vote or vote count in the last election.
The executive branches in approximately 80% of the world's countries have separate chiefs of state and heads of government; for the remainder, the chief of state is also the head of government, such as in Argentina, Kenya, the Philippines, the US, and Venezuela. Chiefs of state in just over 100 countries are directly elected, most by majority popular vote; those in another 55 are indirectly elected by their national legislatures, parliaments, or electoral colleges. Another 29 countries have a monarch as the chief of state. In dependencies, territories, and collectivities of sovereign countries - except those of the US - representatives are appointed to serve as chiefs of state.
Heads of government in the majority of countries are appointed either by the president or the monarch or selected by the majority party in the legislative body. Excluding countries where the chief of state is also head of government, in only a few countries is the head of government directly elected through popular vote.
Most of the world's countries have cabinets, the majority of which are appointed by the chief of state or prime minister, many in consultation with each other or with the legislature. Cabinets in only about a dozen countries are elected solely by their legislative bodies.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on December 7, 2019See Also