The focus of this chapter is the most visible tier in any system of government: the top level of leadership. Whether we are talking about presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, dictators, or despots, those who sit at the peak of the pyramid of governmental power typically excite the most public interest, whether opinions are positive or negative. To be sure, executives — in democracies, at least — consist not just of individual leaders but of large networks of people and institutions, including the ministers and secretaries who form the cabinet or the council of ministers. But a single figure usually becomes the best-known face of government, representing its successes and failures and acting as a focus of popular attention.
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