Prime Minister Law and Legal Definition

A prime minister is an elected or appointed official of a nation. The prime minister is the top cabinet member of the top level government in a parliamentary system of government of a country, or an officer in a presidential system or semi-presidential system whose serves the President and manages the civil service.

The following is an example of the process to become a prime minister in Israel:

"Electoral System: Special Election for Prime Minister

On December 10, 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak submitted his letter of resignation to President Katsav. According to the Basic Law: The Government, which took effect in 1996:

The Prime Minister may, after notifying the Government of his decision to do so, resign by submitting his written resignation to the President of the State; the resignation will go into force 48 hours after the letter of resignation is submitted to the President, unless the Prime Minister retracts prior to such time. Should the Prime Minister resign, special elections will be conducted.

In special elections, a candidate must be a member of Knesset, amd may be proposed by a faction or factions of the Knesset, numbering no less than ten members.

The special elections will be conducted on the last Tuesday preceding the passage of sixty days from the day that the cause for the elections was created.

A Prime Minister who has resigned or in whom the Knesset expressed no confidence, will continue in office until the newly elected Prime Minister assumes office.

The elected Prime Minister will be the candidate receiving more than half of the valid votes.

If no candidate wins such a majority, repeat elections will be held between the two top candidates. In the return elections, the candidate receiving the largest number of valid votes will be the chosen candidate.

If a prime minister fails to present a government within 45 days of the day election results become official, another special election is held.

A prime minister elected in special elections will remain in office for the period of service of the Knesset serving at that time. (The next Knesset elections are scheduled for May 2003.)

Update: On January 1, 2001, the Knesset voted 57-41 in favor of a motion to apply continuity to the bill to amend the law on the direct election of prime minister from the same point the previous Knesset left off. On March 7, 2001, the Knesset voted to change the system of direct prime-ministerial elections and restore the one-vote parliamentary system of government that operated until 1996, approving a reformed version of the original Basic Law: The Government.

Eligibility requirements for Prime Minister

Since the change of the electoral system in 1996, Israel's prime minister is elected by a separate, direct ballot. The February 2001 election will be the first time that a separate special election will be held for prime minister, with the composition of the Knesset remaining unchanged.

The candidate for prime minister must be a citizen at least 30 years of age and may be nominated by a party, or parties, with at least 10 seats in the Knesset. According the amendment to the Basic Law: The Government passed on December 19, 2000, both Knesset Members and non-MKs may stand for a special election. Names of candidates for prime minister must be filed by midnight of December 21, 2000.

If the outgoing prime minister has served for seven consecutive years, he/she may not stand for re-election."