France has both a president and a prime minister

How does that work?

The President of France (Jacques Chiraq) is elected for five year terms (I don’t know if there are term limits.) The Prime Minister is nominated by the majority in the parliament and appointed by the President. The President is France’s official head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. I don’t know what particular powers each one has.

Oh, and the current prime minister of France is Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Russia has a similar arrangement. President Yeltsin went through several prime ministers.

In France the President has more power than the prime minister, but the prime minister does have a proper politicla role in running the country.

The Prime Minister is hardly ever the head of state of a country (infact I can’t think of one with a prime minister as head of state). In England, Canada, Austrailia, Jamaica, etc. the Queen performs this role.

Few people realize (except the Israelis obviously) that Ariel Sharon is not actually the head of state of Israel, but only it’s prime minister. The actual head of state is the elected president - Moshe Katsav who is almost like the Queen in England, performing more of a ceremonial role (though the Israeli president does have some powers, but they are rarely excersised).

Silly question from a Canadian… but how much power does the Queen still have over Canada? We think of our prime minister as the country’s leader, and the Queen doesn’t do much except visit occasionally and have her face on our money.

The Queen appoints the Governors General of Canada and the provinces, who as near as I can tell likewise don’t really do anything.

The Queen, via the Governer General who acts on her behalf in each country, has the power to disolve parliment. So if things were really bad and the Governer General had absolutely no faith in the current parliment he/she could recommend to the Queen that she forces an election. I don’t know that it’s ever happened.

Something of the sort happened in Australia in 1974, though not precisely what you outline. The facts of the matter are here – though unconfirmed recent reports indicate that the American CIA had behind the scenes influence on what was decided.

Every nation whose government is headed by a prime minister also has a head of state who is either a monarch or a president. (There can be some variation on the titles–for example, a prime minister is sometimes called a chancellor or a premier–but the concept is the same by whatever names the prime minister and head of state are called.) See Central Intelligence Agency, Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments; Governments on the WWW: Heads of State.

Some heads of state also head the government: the most familiar example may be the President of the United States, who plays both roles. But no prime minister is also the head of state.

The prime minister always runs the government’s day-to-day business and presides over the other ministers who collectively run the executive branch, but his or her powers and role with respect to the head of state vary widely. When the head of state is a constitutional monarch, such as the British sovereign, the prime minister is almost always the leader of a majority in the national legislature, and is the de facto ruler even though formally the monarch appoints and can dismiss the prime minister. When the head of state is a president directly elected by the people, such as France’s president, then the prime minister is clearly subordinate to the president. When the head of state is appointed by the legislature, as in Israel, then the role is often almost purely ceremonial.

The head of state throughout the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) is the Crown but, outside the United Kingdom, the Crown is ordinarily represented by a domestic officer called the governor-general, who is formally appointed by the Crown but as a practical matter is named by the domestic government. A governor-general’s role is analogous to the crown’s: he or she “reigns but does not rule,” and his or her authority is primarily ceremonial and exercised on the advice of the prime minister’s government.

The separation of the head of state and the head of government is a significant enhancement on the (older) US model. If the US had this political model, the intervention by SCOTUS in the 2000 election would not have been necessary. The Head of State would have simply appointed a caretaker Head of Government to manage government business whilst all due legal processes and appeals were worked through.

The dismissal of the Whitlam government occurred in November 11th 1975 and QEII and the CIA had bugger all to do with it.

Muffin, that was terrific.

As an aside, I see that OpalCat has taken another step in her efforts towards world domination: :smiley:

I expect that someday some rushed student will cut and paste part or all of the article into a term paper without reading it too carefully, only to later be asked by the prof to explain just who the heck Dame Opal was and why the UK Parliament said Hi to her. :wink:

Ireland also has a President (Uachtarain) and a Prime Minister (Taoiseach). The president gets elected every 5(?) years, and doesn’t have political power - more like the British monarch in waving at people and cutting ribbons. The Taioseach is a political being and has the power.

Ireland’s penultimate President was Mary Robinson, who went on to head up the UNHCR.

I was under the impression that that was “Prime Monster.”

7 year terms… The most significant role of the President of Ireland is as guardian of the constitution. When the parliament passes legislation the President has the right to refer it to the Irish Supreme Court which then judges whether the legislation is in line with the (written) Constitution of Ireland. This is not a trivial role and several pieces of legislation have been stuck down in recent times due to this provision.

Slight hijack but recently Jeb Bush called the Prime Minister of Spain the “president” and thanked the head of the " Spanish Republic " for suppoting the USA. On small point - Spain has a king as head of state and it is not a republic. It must run in the family.

Wasn’t the Governor-General in 1975 in Australia a former Lib politician?

(Would explain why the government was handed to them better than a CIA conspiracy, in my mind.)

Rayne Man, in this case there may have been slight confusion with his aides’ translation of Aznar’s title. Mr. Aznar’s proper title is indeed Presidente del Gobierno del Estado Español, that is, President (not PM) of the Government of the Spanish State, “Spanish State”, NOT “Kingdom of Spain”, being the official designation of the sovereign political entity between Portugal and the Pyrennes. (Sort of like Israel is the “State of Israel” even though it’s obviously a Republic) So Jeb was half right.
In the cases of a place like France or Russia, with a strong presidency yet retaining a PM, there are also historical considerations. Before 1958 France was a more traditionally parliamentary republic (when it was a republic) with the PM as the head honch, depending on Parliament’s confidence and the building of coalitions. Post-WW2 this caused a bit of Italian-style revolving-door government until DeGaulle stepped in and got a new constitution where a large heap of real power went to the Prez, but otherwise most of the already-established ordinary governeance structures, such as the PM as a day-to-day manager, were retained. This (a) relieved concerns that CDG would become an all-powerful strongman and (b) provides for power-sharing and compromise when the legislative makeover changes mid-presidency and you have Conservative Prez/Socialist PM, or vice-versa (Chirac has seen his share of those situations).

Under the post-Stalin Soviet system, the formal “constitutional governments” were parliamentary systems with a collective presidency whose chief was the Head of State, and a PM responsible to the majority of the legislature who was the manager-of-government; but the real power was in the hands of the Party Central Committee and its General Secretary. Towards the final years of the USSR, Brezhnev (late in his term) and Gorbachev had themselves also formally elected “President”, so all the policymaking power of the Party Boss kinda merged with the post of President, and after the fall of communism the next officeholders decided they liked it that way.