Head of State

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Head of State


the individual who fulfills the functions of the highest executive authority in the state. In monarchical states (such as Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, and Iran) the head of state is a hereditary monarch: an emperor, king, prince, grand duke, padishah, and the like; in bourgeois republics he is an elected president. In a number of countries (the USA, some Latin American states) the head of state is simultaneously head of the government. The competence of the head of state and his term of office (in the case of an elected one) are determined by a constitution. Usually the head of state is invested with rather wide powers. He represents the state in international relations, receives foreign diplomats, and, as a rule, is commander in chief of the armed forces. He possesses the right of legislative initiative and, in a number of countries, the right to impose a veto on laws passed by parliament. The right to issue edicts and decrees is his, as well. Usually he is empowered to award orders and other high decorations and to grant pardons. In several countries (such as France and the Federal Republic of Germany) the head of state convenes parliament and has the right to dissolve it as a whole, or one of its chambers.

In actuality the role of the head of state is not the same in various capitalist countries. It is greatest in those countries where the head of state is simultaneously head of the government, that is, in the so-called presidential republics (for example, in the USA and some Latin American countries). In general this phenomenon reflects a tendency characteristic of contemporary imperialist states whereby the power of the executive authority is strengthened at the expense of the representative bodies. It is precisely to this end that the powers of a president are widened, so that in some countries he is being transformed into a personal dictator.

In the majority of socialist states there is no individual who acts as head of state. Rather his functions are executed by the collegial body of the highest representative institution (a presidium or state council). The term of office of this body is the same as that of the representative institution, and its members are chosen from the latter. In those socialist states which have an individual acting as head of state (for example, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia), he is responsible for his actions to the highest representative institution and jointly with it, or on its authorization, performs the functions of the head of state.


References in periodicals archive ?
As we understand it, the scope of head of state immunity has not been precisely defined, but it is possible that such immunity could be interpreted as affording complete protection against any type of civil action in this country, including a regulatory enforcement proceeding.
With regard to air transport, the Head of State enquired about the latest preparations for the coming into operation of the "Enfidha-Zine el Abidine Ben Ali Airport," next November.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The issue of the Jamaican head of state is entirely a matter for the Jamaican government and people.
He added: "It will forever have that derivativeness about it while ever our head of state is the Queen of Great Britain and we share her with 16 other countries.
TALLINN -- On April 13, at Stenbock House in Tallinn, on the 125th anniversary of Head of State Juhan Kukk's birth, the State Chancellery and Estonian Post, Ltd.
THE Pope could be arrested when he visits Britain because he's not a head of state, a lawyer claimed yesterday.
Summary: President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali took interest, when meeting on Friday morning with Communication Technologies Minister El Hadj Gley, in the development of telecommunications networks and services, as part of carrying out the programmes and large-scale projects the Head of State had ordered with a view to backing up national development action.
THERE was an understandable fuss that the Queen was not at the Normandy commemoration service, not only as Britain's representative but particularly as she was the only head of state to serve in the war.
The country is currently governed by a Constitution that provides for a President, who is the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces.
Building a nation's image on the World Wide Web; a study of the head of state websites of developing countries.
We are told we are free to worship any god, and religion, and country we like, as long as we obey the head of State.
For example, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state in the United Kingdom, but Tony Blair, the head of government, is listed in the table.