Non-Executive Presidents in Parliamentary Democracies

Also available in Arabic and Burmese



  • A non-executive president is a symbolic leader of a state who performs a representative and civic role but does not exercise executive or policymaking power.
  • A non-executive president may, nevertheless, possess and exercise some discretionary powers of extraordinary political intervention as a constitutional arbiter or guarantor.


  • A non-executive president separates the representative embodiment of the permanent institutions of the state from the leader of the incumbent government. This may provide additional continuity and stability and may enable more inclusive representation. In addition, a non-executive president may act as a figure of national unity and may moderate political conflicts.

Why not?

  • Some argue that a non-executive president with little effective power is an unnecessary addition to the political system.
  • Conversely, a non-executive president who possesses effective powers of discretionary intervention may oppose the elected government and cause a divisive power struggle.


  • A non-executive president is found in almost all parliamentary republics. Prominent examples include Bangladesh,