Most European nations have parliamentary systems of government in which executive authority is vested in cabinets responsible to parliaments. The cabinet''s head, and the leader of the majority in parliament, is the prime minister, who is the actual chief executive officer of the nation. In most of these governments the president serves as a titular, or ceremonial, head of state (except for the constitutional monarchies—Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway—where this role is performed by the king or queen). Various methods of selecting presidents have been adopted. In Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia the president is directly elected; Germany and Italy utilize an electoral college; while the presidents is appointed by the parliament in Greece.
Direct presidential elections, 1990-2009. Click icon to view data