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A head of state was the highest-ranking member of a sovereign state. Emperors, kings or queens, and presidents usually served as head of state of their respective polities.

The head of state may also be the head of government, though these roles can sometimes be held by different people. The Chancellor of the Klingon High Council was the head of government of the Klingon Empire, while a new emperor was installed in 2369 as the head of state. The position of emperor was ceremonial and political power remained with the High Council. (TNG: "Rightful Heir", DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")

In 2364, William T. Riker defended his choice to adorn himself in the native attire for males on Angel I because of diplomacy. According to Riker, "I have requested an audience with a head of state, and I will honor her by wearing indigenous apparel." (TNG: "Angel One")

Salia of Daled IV was the head of state by 2365. (TNG: "The Dauphin")

Acost Jared was the Ventaxian head of state in 2367. (TNG: "Devil's Due")

In 2373, Kira Nerys requested that Tekeny Ghemor be treated like a visiting head of state during his stay on Deep Space 9. This included being given full communications and computer access, and any assistance he may need from the station's crew. (DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water")

Later that year, Gul Dukat became the new head of the Cardassian government. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light") From 2374 to 2375, Legate Damar was the head of the Cardassian Union. (DS9: "Statistical Probabilities", "Strange Bedfellows") He was succeeded by Legate Broca. (DS9: "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind")

Grand Nagus Zek was the head of the Ferengi Alliance. (DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak")

In 3189, following United Earth's secession from the Federation, the head of state was the president. (DIS: "...But to Connect")

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