According to Prof. H.J. Laski there is no foreign institution which, “in any basic sense” the American Presidency may be compared. However, as the real executive heads of two countries the American President and the British Prime Minister may be contrasted in respect their functions and powers. Both the US President and the British Prime Minister occupies a unique position not only in their respective political systems but also in the world as a whole.
A brief survey of comparison regarding their powers and functions is illustrated in the following:
- The U.S. President is elected for 4 years while British Prime Minister is elected for 5 years.
- The American President’s term of office is secured constitutionally: He cannot be removed before the expiry of a period of 4 years unless impeached earlier by the Congress, but it is a very difficult and impracticable procedure. The British Prime Minister, on the-other hand, depends for his term of office upon House of Commons. He continues in office as long as he enjoys the support of the majority party in the House. He must vacate his office, as soon as the confidence reposed in him by the majority is withdrawn.
- The American President is directly elected by the: .people while the British Prime Minister is appointed by the Monarch from the majority party in. the House
- The US President is the head of the State as well as of the government. But the Prime Minister is only the head of the government.
- The President is not responsible to the legislature for his acts, conducts and policies, whereas the Prime Minister is answerable and accountable to the House of Commons. The US President, moreover, does not guide the course of legislation, nor is he a member of the Congress. The British Prime Minister, on the other hand, is the leader of the House and actively participates in the proceedings for legislation.
- The American President is helpless if the majority in the Congress is against him. He cannot get all the necessary legislation enacted. The British Prime Minister is always the leader of the majority party and can get the necessary legislation passed. In this respect he is more powerful than the American President.
- The Prime Minister is only the head of his cabinet. Since the cabinet includes the leading party members with considerable backing, he cannot easily afford to ignore the advice of the cabinet. The American President, on the other hand, is the boss and the cabinet members are his subordinate assistants. He is the master of his cabinet. The cabinet members are mere advisers. The adviser only advice. The President makes the decisions alone.
- The American President’s powers of making appointments and conclusion of treaties with foreign states are shared by the Senate. There is no restraint on the powers of the Prime Minister. All high appointments are made by the Prime Minister although formally they are made under the signature of the Monarch nor he is responsible for the conclusion of treaties with foreign states to anybody.
- The American President derives all his powers from the constitution of the USA. The Prime Minister of Britain on the other hand, derives his powers from constitutional conventions. Theoretically all power is vested in the British Monarch and the Prime Minister and his colleagues are appointed only to aid and advise the Monarch.