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Fast Fact: Head of Government/State

A head of government leads the government, usually in the executive branch  . Different countries use different names for the head of government, such as, “president”, “prime minister”, or “chancellor”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May is a head of government.
(Source: HM Government, via Wikimedia Commons.)

A head of state is the main person who represents a country. Sometimes the head of state may be important to the country, even though he or she does not have much power. Many countries have a king or queen   as the head of state.

Emperor Akihito of Japan
Emperor Akihito of Japan is a head of state.
(Source: State Department photo by William Ng, via Wikimedia Commons.)

In a presidential system, like the US, the head of state and the head of government is the same thing – the president.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta is the head of government and the head of state in Kenya.
(Source: Amanda Lucidon (White House photographer), via Wikimedia Commons.)


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