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In government, a vice president is a person whose primary responsibility is to replace the president on the event of his or her death, resignation or incapacity. Vice presidents are either elected jointly with the president as his or her running mate, elected separately, or appointed independently after the president's election.

Most, but not all, governments with vice presidents have only one person in this role at any time. If the president is not present, dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to fulfill his or her duties, the vice president will generally serve as president. In many presidential systems, the vice president does not wield much day-to-day political power, but is still considered an important member of the cabinet. Several vice presidents in the Americas held the position of President of the Senate; this is the case, for example, in Argentina, the United States, and Uruguay. The vice president sometimes assumes some of the ceremonial duties of the president, such as attending functions and events that the actual president may be too busy to attend; the Vice President of the United States, for example, often attends funerals of world leaders on behalf of the President. In this capacity, the vice president may thus assume the role of a de facto symbolic head of state, a position which is lacking in a system of government where the powers of head of state and government are fused.

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