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Premier is a title for the head of government in central governments, state governments and local governments of some countries. A second in command to a premier is designated as a deputy premier.

A premier will normally be a head of government, but is not the head of state. In presidential systems, the two roles are often combined into one, whereas in parliamentary systems of government the two are usually kept separate.

Relationship to the term "prime minister"

"Premier" is often the title of the heads of government in sub-national entities, such as the provinces and territories of Canada, states of the Commonwealth of Australia, provinces of South Africa, the island of Nevis within the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the nation of Niue. In some of these cases, the formal title remains "Prime Minister" but "Premier" is used to avoid confusion with the national leader. In these cases, care should be taken not to confuse the title of "premier" with "prime minister". In these countries, terms such as "Federal Premier", "National Premier" or "Premier of the Dominion" were sometimes used to refer to prime ministers, although these are now obsolete.


The word comes from French premier ministre which means prime minister. Premier meaning 'first', coming from Latin prīmārius. This is why in many nations, "premier" is used interchangeably with "prime minister".

Examples by country

In the People's Republic of China, "premier" is more common and official, but "prime minister" is still used (see Premier of the People's Republic of China).

In the Republic of China (Taiwan), the head of government is officially the President of the Executive Yuan, but it can also be abbreviated to Premier.

In the Cayman Islands, the head of government is referred to as the “Premier”, however, as a British Overseas Territory, the British Monarch is the head of state, and the British government often has the last say on external affairs.

In Cambodia, "Premier" means the "Prime Minister". In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a sub-national entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well in the cantons, the head of government has the formal title of "premier", often anglicized as "prime minister", while the national prime minister is Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but "premier" is sometimes colloquially used.

In the Czech Republic, the head of government is colloquially called “Premiér”, and the Czech language translates both “Premier” and “Prime Minister” as “Premiér”. However, although his post is commonly translated in English as “Prime Minister”, the official title as per articles 67 and 68 of the Constitution is “Předseda vlády”, literally “President of the Government”.[1][2][3]

In Croatia, the head of government is officially called “President of the Government” (predsjednik vlade) but “Premier” (premijer) is colloquially used.

In Serbia, the head of government is officially called "President of the Government" (predsednik vlade) but "Premier" (premijer) is colloquially used.

In Poland, the head of government is officially called "President of the Council of Ministers" (Polish: Prezes Rady Ministrów, lit.'Chairman of the Council of Ministers') but "Premier" (polish for Prime Minister) is colloquially used.

In Italy, the President of the Council of Ministers, an office equivalent to prime minister, is informally referred to as the "Premier".

In North Macedonia the head of the government is named premier (Macedonian премиер, premier), usually translated in English as prime minister.

In the Soviet Union, the title of premier was applied to the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, named Chairman of the Council of Ministers after 1946, which became the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In Malaysia, the head of the Sarawak state government is known as the Premier of Sarawak following a state constitutional amendment in 2022, a move widely seen to reflect the status of Sarawak as an equal partner with Sabah and Malaya in Malaysia as stipulated in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63).

In the Netherlands, the term premier is colloquially used as a synonym of prime minister. In the Dutch language, the official and also commonly used term is "minister president", so this is even a third synonym, but this is normally not translated literally into the English language.

By jurisdiction

See also


  1. ^ "Ústava České republiky". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  2. ^ "The Constitution of the Czech Republic". Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  3. ^ "Premiér | Vláda ČR". Retrieved 2022-11-09.