A premier is an executive official of government.
In many nations the term "premier" is used interchangeably with the title of "prime minister." For example, the "Italian Premier" or the "Japanese Premier." In the People's Republic of China it is used somewhat more commonly but still interchangeably with Prime Minister (See also: Premier of the People's Republic of China).
In certain British overseas territories, such as Bermuda, the elected head of government is called the "premier". In others he or she is called the chief minister.
It is also the name of the heads of government in the provinces and territories of Canada, provinces of South Africa, the states of Australia, and the (self-governing) New Zealand territory of Niue (in some of these cases the formal title remains "Prime Minister" but "Premier" is used to avoid confusion with the national prime minister).
A second in command to the Premier is designated as a Vice-Premier or Deputy Premier.
In the Soviet Union the title of Premier was applied to the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars or, after 1946, to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
This term derives from the parliamentary form of government, and is quite different from a president. A near-approximant of this term in the presidential system of government of the USA is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which had more power in the nineteenth century, that is, before Theodore Roosevelt vastly increased the importance of the office of the president, but never so much as a premier.
As an example of how this term is used, the French Fifth Republic has both a "premier" and a "president"; the former has a level of power in between that of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the U.S. and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, while the latter has, in ordinary times, almost as much power as a president in a presidential system of government, while in times of crisis, more power.
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