The term president is a title given to various people in places of authority. It is given to leaders of organizations, companies, universities, and leaders of most nations of the world whose resulting influential abilities play a pivotal role in the success of the nation. It is important to note that etymologically, the term refers to a person who directs or sits in a position of influence or authority.
Initially, the title “president” was used in reference to a presiding officer of a ceremony, but currently the term is commonly used to refer to the head of state of most republics. The head of states are elected in a fair general election, chosen by the legislature or a unique electoral college, or ascend to power through forceful means. For example, the U.S. president and the Mexican president have marked similarities and differences.
The U.S. president serves as the head of state, the head of the government, the person in charge of the executive arm of the federal government, and he is also one of the two nationally elected federal officers; moreover, Article II of the country’s constitution outlines more responsibilities endowed to the president.
He has powers to “faithfully execute” federal law, which enables him to be the commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces (Mayer). The president is also given the authority to nominate executive and judicial officers in consultation with the Senate as well as give pardons and reprieves.
In accordance to the American constitution, the population vote for their preferred president indirectly after every four years through the Electoral College votes (Forbes). In many American states, every elector is dedicated to cast his or her vote for a particular presidential aspirant. Therefore, when the Americans are voting for an elector in the Electoral College, it implies that they are actually voting for their preferred presidential hopeful.
Nonetheless, in the election history of the country, especially in the hotly contested ones, this did not make any difference since the aspirants who had the majority popular votes still failed to win the electoral votes in the states. On January 20, 2009, history was made when Barack Obama, a black American, succeeded George W. Bush in becoming the forty-forth and the current president of the U.S.
On the other hand, the Mexican office of the president strictly adheres to the principles of a presidential system of government where the president is chosen directly by the people and the aspirant who come first after counting the votes is elected in office for a six-year term, called a sexenio (Joseph).
The candidate is elected even without an absolute majority and in contrast to the U.S., where the president is likely to be reelected after finishing his or her term, in Mexico the president is less likely to get another term in office.
This system resulted from the Mexican Revolution where a person was banned from running for a second term in office and under the current constitution, Felipe Calderon, who is the current president of the country, serves as the head of state, head of government, and the highest-ranked commander of the country’s armed forces.
At present, the office of the Mexican president is regarded to be revolutionary. This implies that it is in relation to the inheritor of the Mexican Revolution. In addition, the powers of office are entirely taken from the Revolutionary Constitution of 1917, which borrowed heavily from the U.S. constitution.
This constitution allowed for distinct separation of powers. Even though the constitution gave the president more powers than those of the U.S. president, this was not the reality until recent changes were effected. For over seventy years after the passing of the 1917 constitutions, the president was described as the “six-year dictator.” This is because he had almost absolute control over the country due to the de facto monopoly status of the PRI.
The president personally chose his successor from his allies. Therefore, the head of state had practically complete control over the political affairs of Mexico. However, in the early 1980s, a serious recession created a lot of discomfort in the country that made the president lose his influence over the political life of the country.
For a person to be the president in Mexico, he or she must follow the guidelines stipulated in Chapter II of the Constitution executive branch of the government. These guidelines outline the powers given to the president and the requirements that have to be met before assuming office.
In order to be a potential candidate for the presidency in Mexico, a person must be a natural-born citizen of the country having at least one parent, who is a natural-born, must have lived in the county for the past twenty years, and must attain a minimum age of thirty-five and above.
Moreover, the interested candidate must have resided in the country for at least one year before the elections, must not be an active participant in any religious organization or in the military service, and must not be in any influential governmental position for at least six months before the election (De Varona).
On the other hand, the eligibility criterion for presidency in the U.S. is one way or another same as the one in Mexico. The requirements are set by Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. constitution, which stipulates that the candidate must be a natural citizen of the country, must have attained a minimum age of thirty-five years of age, and must have stayed in the country for a minimum period of fourteen years permanently.
The White House in the city of Washington functions as the official dwelling place for the U.S. president. The facilities for the place of residence are fully available to the president and his family members. He uses them for medical care, entertainment, official duties, housekeeping, and security services.
On the other hand, the Mexican president official place of residence and the place for carrying out most official duties is called Los Pinos. The residence is fully available for the president and his family members during the six-year tenure in office.
Article 84 of the constitution of Mexico sets guidelines for the succession of the country’s president. It states that in case there is a vacancy in the presidency and Congress is not in session, then the Permanent Commission is mandated with the task of choosing a Provisional President before recalling Congress. However, if Congress is in session and the presidency has been declared vacant in the first two years of term, then it votes to elect an interim president by a simple majority.
The Interim president then rules for the remainder of the original six-year period. In addition, if the presidency has been declared vacant in the last four years of the term, then the Congress is mandated to vote in selecting a Substitute president, who will reign for the remainder of the original six-year period.
On the other hand, under the U.S. constitution, when the presidency has been declared vacant due to death, resignation, or removal from office, then the vice president assumes office immediately without the Congress voting for him or her. Moreover, if the both the president and the vice president offices are unoccupied, then the presidential line of succession follows a set order according to the seniority of the different officials of the government.
A sitting American president, because of any suitable reason, may wish to pass on his responsibilities to the office of the vice president. This can only occur after detailing the reasons for the decision to the relevant government officials who then determine if the reasons are valid or not.
Although both the Office of the President in U.S. and Mexico are considered as the highest political officials due to the high-level influence and recognition they exert in their homeland, the Mexican president has limited control in the world politics. Since the U.S. is currently the only remaining superpower, the nation’s president is considered as the most powerful individual in this planet.
Consequently, he is referred to as the Leader of the Free World. The presidency is an important ingredient for the success of any nation. This is because the office is endowed with the responsibility of seeing that a country succeeds in its internal and external affairs.
De Varona, Frank. Benito Juarez, President of Mexico. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 1993. Print.
Forbes, Steve. The U.S. presidency in the twenty-first century: opportunities and obstacles. London: British Library, 2000. Print.
Joseph, Gilbert M. The Mexico reader: history, culture, politics. Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2005. Print.
Mayer, Kenneth. With the stroke of a pen: executive orders and presidential power. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001. Print.