Head of state

A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation (in practice they divide the leadership of the nation among themselves). In countries with parliamentary systems, the head of state is typically a ceremonial figurehead who does not actually guide day-to-day government activities or is not empowered to exercise any kind of political authority. In countries where the head of state is also the head of government, the head of state serves as both a public figurehead and the highest-ranking political leader who oversees the executive branch (e.g. the President of Brazil). Former French president Charles de Gaulle, while developing the current Constitution of France (1958), said that the head of state should embody l'esprit de la nation ("the spirit of the nation").


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