Head of state

official who holds the highest-ranked executive position in a sovereign state

The head of state is the leader of a country/sovereign state. The powers of a head of state may vary depending on the country. The head of state is usually the highest-ranking official in the country.



In most republic countries, the head of state is called the president and is usually elected by the people.

In countries that are monarchies, the head of state is a monarch (such as a king), who gets the position through inheritance. There are many titles that a monarch could have, but they all have the same role as a head of state.

Types of heads of state




Sometimes a head of state has an executive role. This means that they take part in leading the government. In these systems, the head of state is also the head of government. For example, the President of the United States is both the head of state and head of government of the US. There are many republics that operate like this but some monarchies still have a king who runs the government.



In other countries, the head of state may be a separate person from the head of government. In this system, the head of state has the role of representing the nation and being a neutral non-political leader while the head of government takes care of the executive. This system is used in many modern monarchies such as the United Kingdom. However, some republics such as the Republic of Ireland follow this system.