Does any country choose their president by popular vote?

During all of the post election coverage, I saw an interview on CNN with some Canadian saying that he couldn’t understand how OGre could win the popular vote and not win the presidency. My problem is that the same thing can happen in Cananda. Most countries vote for thier representatives, and they choose thier president (or PM). Does any country just do a strait out popular vote?

Sorry if you guys have discussed this, i tried a search and didn’t find anything.

Lots of countries elect their president directly by popular vote. Russia and France are obvious examples.

And the Republic of Ireland and most (if not all) of the former Eastern Bloc states and South Africa.

There’s a difference between a president and a prime minister. Countries that have a parliamentary system of government normally have a prime minister, although s/he may have a different title (e.g. premier). That person is selected by the party or coalition of parties that wins the most seats in parliament. In practice, any party or coalition that has a snowball’s chance in heck of winning the election makes it clear who their choice for PM will be, weeks if not months ahead of time. The PM is the head of government.

Generally countries with parliamentary have a separate head of state, either a monarch or a president. In countries with a president and a parliament, the usual thing is for the president to be elected by direct popular vote. In most of these countries it would be a Bad Thing for the president to be selected by parliament, since one of the president’s jobs is to invite a party or coalition of parties to form a government… you can see where party politics and cronyism could become a problem in this situation.

The powers of the President of the US include all the powers of head of state and many of the powers of head of government, an unusual combination among democratic nations.