List of heads of state by diplomatic precedence
Protocol holds that a head of state takes precedence over all other officials, and that heads of state rank in the order that they took office. The following list contains the heads of state for all United Nations member states and non-member observer states.
Commonwealth realms, other than the United Kingdom, each have a local governor-general appointed to represent the monarch in the realm's government. Governors-general are frequently accorded the status and privileges of a head of state at diplomatic events when considered as representing their absentee monarch, but not as themselves heads of state. The princes of Andorra each have a representative as well. Hereditary Prince Alois is permanent representative for exercising the sovereign powers due to Liechtenstein Prince Hans-Adam II. They are included in the list and are highlighted in blue.
However, in many cases it is not this neutral principle but national rules of protocol that are acted upon, usually by an international event's host nation, as in many bilateral and even certain multilateral occasions. Various international organisations have a system for internal use. Even in the presence of one or more Heads of State, certain occasions are governed by specific protocol, e.g. military. Thus in many cases precedence is given to monarchs over republican heads of state, mostly in monarchies; in some nations, the Pope (himself a monarchical head of state) ranks above secular heads of state, especially in Roman Catholic countries.
States recognised by the United Nations
|Chairman of the Presidency||Dragan Čović||17 July 2017||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|President-elect||Ilir Meta||24 July 2017||Albania|
|Acting President-designate||Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay||1 September 2017||Singapore|
States with limited recognition
|President||Bako Sahakyan||7 September 2007||Nagorno-Karabakh Republic|
|President||Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud||27 July 2010||Somaliland|
|President||Raul Khajimba||25 September 2014||Abkhazia|
|President||Mustafa Akıncı||30 April 2015||Northern Cyprus|
|President||Hashim Thaçi||7 April 2016||Kosovo|
|President||Tsai Ing-Wen||20 May 2016||Taiwan|
|President||Brahim Ghali||12 July 2016||Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic|
|President||Vadim Krasnoselsky||16 December 2016||Transnistria|
|President||Anatoliy Bibilov||21 April 2017||South Ossetia|
|President||Riad Seif||6 May 2017||Syria|
|President of the Supreme Political Council||Saleh Ali al-Sammad||15 August 2016||Yemen|
- Hereditary Prince Alois Archived 2012-06-21 at the Wayback Machine.
- Hassanal Bolkiah has been Sultan of Brunei since 4 October 1967, but Brunei was a protectorate of the United Kingdom until 1 January 1984.
- Ali Khamenei was previously President of Iran from 2 October 1981 – 4 June 1989.
- In Iran, the Supreme Leader is the head of state and the President is the head of government.
- Hans-Adam II was previously Regent from 26 August 1984 – 13 November 1989.
- Hereditary Prince Alois has been Regent for Hans-Adam II since 15 August 2004.
- Harald V was previously Prince-Regent from 1 June 1990 – 17 January 1991.
- Haakon was Prince-Regent from 25 November 2003 – 13 April 2004 and 29 March 2005 – 7 June 2005.
- The Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea share head of state powers while the deceased Kim Il-sung is recognised in the constitution as the Eternal President.
- Kagame was the Acting President until 22 April 2000.
- Henri was previously Regent from 3 March 1998 – 7 October 2000.
- Kabila was the Acting President until 26 January 2001.
- Albert II was previously Regent from 31 March 2005 – 6 April 2005.
- Raúl Castro was previously Acting President of the Council of State from 31 July 2006 – 24 February 2008.
- Maduro was the Acting President until 19 April 2013.
- It is the Holy See and not the Vatican City state that maintains diplomatic relations with states and participates in international organisations. The Holy See and the Vatican City state are two separate and distinct entities. Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City state, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities. Also it is the Holy See that has United Nations Observer status not the Vatican City state.
- Hamid was the Acting President until 24 April 2013.
- Temer was the Acting President until 31 August 2016.
- Mirziyoyev was the Interim President until 14 December 2016
- Prem Tinsulanonda was Regent of Thailand from 13 October 2016 – 1 December 2016.
- The three-member Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the head of state collectively, with the chairmanship rotating every eight months.
- The seven-member Swiss Federal Council is the head of state collectively, with the presidency rotating every year.