A premier is an executive official of government.
In many nations the term "premier" is used interchangeably with the title of "prime minister." For example, the "Italian Premier" or the "Japanese Premier." In the People's Republic of China it is used somewhat more commonly but still interchangeably with Prime Minister (See also: Premier of the People's Republic of China).
In certain British overseas territories, such as Bermuda, the elected head of government is called the "premier". In others, he or she is called the chief minister.
"Premier" is the title of the heads of government in the provinces and territories of Canada, provinces of South Africa, the states of Australia, and the nation of Niue (in some of these cases the formal title remains "Prime Minister" but "Premier" is used to avoid confusion with the national prime minister).
A premier will normally be a head of government, but is not always the head of state. In presidential systems, the two roles are often combined into one, whereas in parliamentary systems of government the two are usually kept separate. An example of a nation having separate roles for the Premier/Prime Minister and the President is the Fifth French Republic
In the cases of Australia and Canada, care should be taken not to confuse the title of Premier with Prime Minister. A Premier is the head of government of a province (in Canada) or state (in Australia); the Prime Minister is the national, or federal, head of government.
In the Soviet Union the title of Premier was applied to the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars or, after 1946, to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
A second in command to a Premier is designated as a Vice-Premier or Deputy Premier.