Balance of power (federalism)

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In federations, the balance of power is occasionally used informally to designate the degree to which power is centralized in the federal government or devolved to the subnational governments. The term itself is largely a misnomer of its misapplication from geopolitics in the twentieth century (for example, the Cold War) and European politics in the nineteenth century involved, for example, in the assessment of the conditions of war following the Napoleonic campaigns across Europe (see Metternich) In confederations (decentralised federations), it is more likely that the balance of power will be in favour of the sub-national level of government (that is, states or provinces). Canada is an example of such a federation. The Commonwealth of Australia is an example of a federation in which the balance of power has shifted in favour of the central (federal) government; although the states were constitutionally intended to be preponderant, the federal government has become dominant through various means of this power. The more refined use of the term usually defers to the designation of power at the domestic level using such terms as the separation of powers, or the distribution of powers among the states and institutions contained within a larger federal government.

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