A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic that operates under a parliamentary system of government where the executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliament). There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state; with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies. Some have fused the roles of head of state and head of government, much like presidential systems, but with a dependency upon parliamentary power.
For the first case mentioned above, in particular, the form of executive-branch arrangement is distinct from most other parliamentary and semi-presidential republics that separate the head of state (usually designated as the "president") from the head of government (usually designated as "prime minister", "premier" or "chancellor") and subject the latter to the confidence of parliament and a flexible tenure in office while the head of state lacks either dependency, and investing either office with the majority of executive power.
In contrast to republics operating under either the presidential system or the semi-presidential system, the head of state usually does not have broad executive powers as an executive president would, because many of those powers have been granted to a head of government (usually called a prime minister).
However, in a parliamentary republic with a head of state whose tenure is dependent on parliament, the head of government and head of state may form one office (as in Botswana, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, South Africa and Suriname), but the president is still selected in much the same way as the prime minister is in most Westminster systems. This usually means that they are the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties in parliament.
In some instances, the president may legally have executive powers granted to them to undertake the day-to-day running of government (as in Finland) but by convention they either do not use these powers or they use them only to give effect to the advice of the parliament and/or head of government. Some parliamentary republics could therefore be seen as following the semi-presidential system but operating under a parliamentary system.
Following the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War, France once again became a republic - the French Third Republic - in 1870. The President of the Third republic had significantly less executive powers than the previous two republics had. The third republic lasted until the invasion of France by Nazi Germany in 1940. Following the end of the war, the French Fourth Republic was constituted along similar lines in 1946. The Fourth Republic saw an era of great economic growth in France and the rebuilding of the nation's social institutions and industry after the war, and played an important part in the development of the process of European integration, which changed the continent permanently. Some attempts were made to strengthen the executive branch of government to prevent the unstable situation that had existed before the war, but the instability remained and the Fourth Republic saw frequent changes in government - there were 20 governments in ten years. Additionally, the government proved unable to make effective decisions regarding decolonization. As a result, the Fourth Republic collapsed and what some critics considered to be a de facto coup d'état, subsequently legitimized by a referendum on 5 October 1958, led to the establishment of the French Fifth Republic in 1959.
Commonwealth of Nations
Since the London Declaration of 29 April 1949 (just weeks after Ireland declared itself a republic and excluded itself from the Commonwealth) republics have been admitted as members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A number of these republics kept the Westminster Parliamentary system inherited during their British colonial rule.
In the case of many republics in the Commonwealth of Nations, it was common for the Sovereign, formerly represented by a Governor-General, to be replaced by an elected non-executive head of state. This was the case in with South Africa (which left the Commonwealth soon after becoming a republic), Malta, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Vanuatu. In many of these examples, the last Governor-General became the first president. Such was the case with Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Others became parliamentary republics upon gaining independence.
List of modern parliamentary republics
|Country||Formerly||Parliamentary republic adopted||Head of state elected by||Cameral structure|
|Albania||One-party state||1991||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Austria||One-party state (as part of Nazi Germany, see Anschluss)||1945||Directly, by second-round system||Bicameral|
|Bangladesh||Presidential republic||1991[note 1]||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)||1991||Directly, by second-round system||Bicameral|
|Botswana||British protectorate (Bechuanaland Protectorate)||1966||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Bulgaria||One-party state||1989||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Croatia||Semi-presidential republic||2000||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Czech Republic||One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia)||1993||Directly, by second-round system (since 2013; previously Parliament, by majority)||Bicameral|
|Dominica||Associated state of the United Kingdom||1978||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Estonia||One-party state (Part of Soviet Union)||1991[note 2]||Parliament, by two-thirds majority||Unicameral|
|Ethiopia||One-party state||1991||Parliament, by two-thirds majority||Bicameral|
|Fiji||Military junta||2014||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Finland||Semi-presidential republic||2000[note 3]||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Germany||One-party state||1949[note 4]||Federal assembly (Parliament and state delegates), by absolute majority||Bicameral|
|Greece||Military junta; Constitutional monarchy||1975||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Hungary||One-party state||1990||Parliament, by absolute majority||Unicameral|
|Iceland||Formerly part of Denmark; Constitutional monarchy||1944||Directly, by majority vote||Unicameral|
|India||Constitutional monarchy (British Dominion)||1950||Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote||Bicameral|
|Iraq||One-party state||2005||Parliament, by two-thirds majority||Unicameral (officially bicameral)|
|Ireland||Constitutional monarchy (British Dominion)||1949[note 5]||Directly, by single transferable vote||Bicameral|
|Israel||Protectorate (Part of British Mandate of Palestine)||1948||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Italy||Constitutional monarchy||1946||Parliament, by majority||Bicameral|
|Kiribati||Protectorate||1979||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Kyrgyzstan||Presidential republic||2010||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Latvia||One-party state (Part of Soviet Union)||1991[note 6]||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Lebanon||Protectorate (French mandate of Lebanon)||1941||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Libya||Jamahiriya (before 2011)||2012||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Macedonia||One-party state (Part of the Yugoslavia)||1991||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Malta||Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)||1974||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Marshall Islands||UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)||1979||Parliament||Bicameral|
|Mauritius||Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)||1992||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Federated States of Micronesia||UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)||1986||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Moldova||One-party state (Part of Soviet Union, until 1990)
Transitional parliamentary republic (1991-1994)
|1994[note 7]||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Montenegro||One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)||1992||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Nauru||Australian Trust Territory||1968||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Pakistan||Presidential and Semi-presidential system||2010||Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote||Bicameral|
|Poland||One-party state||1990||Directly, by second-round system||Bicameral|
|San Marino||Roman Empire||301||Parliament||Unicameral|
|Serbia||One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)||1991||Directly, by second-round system||Unicameral|
|Singapore||Constitutional monarchy (Part of Malaysia)||1965||Directly||Unicameral|
|Slovakia||One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia)||1993||Parliament (before 1999)
Directly, by second-round system (since 1999)
|Slovenia||One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)||1991||Directly, by second-round system||Bicameral|
|Somalia||Transitional Government (after 1991)
One-party state (before 1991)
|South Africa||Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)||1961||Parliament, by majority||Bicameral|
|Suriname||Military Dictatorship||1987||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)||1976||Parliament||Bicameral|
|Tunisia||Semi-presidential system (1956-2011)
Transitional Government (2011-2014)
|2014||Parliament, by majority||Unicameral|
|Turkey||One-party state||1946||Directly (since 2007, previously by parliament)||Unicameral|
|Vanuatu||British-French condominium (New Hebrides)||1980||Parliament and regional council presidents, by majority||Unicameral|
List of former parliamentary republics
- Was previously a parliamentary republic between 1971 and 1975.
- Estonia was previously a parliamentary republic between 1919 and 1934 when the government was overthrown by a coup d'état. In 1938 Estonia adopted a presidential system and in June 1940 was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
- Formerly a semi-presidential republic, it is now a parliamentary republic according to David Arter, First Chair of Politics at Aberdeen University. In his "Scandinavian Politics Today" (Manchester University Press, revised 2008), he quotes Jaakko Nousiainen in "From semi-presidentialism to parliamentary government" (Scandinavian Political Studies 24 (2) pp. 95–109) as follows: "There are hardly any grounds for the epithet 'semi-presidential'." Arter's own conclusions are only slightly more nuanced: "The adoption of a new constitution on 1 March 2000 meant that Finland was no longer a case of semi-presidential government other than in the minimalist sense of a situation where a popularly elected fixed-term president exists alongside a prime minister and cabinet who are responsible to parliament (Elgie 2004: 317)". According to the Finnish Constitution, the president has no possibility to rule the government without the ministerial approval, and does not have the power to dissolve the parliament under his or her own desire. Finland is actually represented by its prime minister, and not by its president, in the Council of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union. The 2012 constitution reduced the powers of the president even further.
- In the case of the former West German states, including former West Berlin, the previous one-party state is Nazi Germany, but in the case of the New Länder and former East Berlin it is East Germany. Please note that German reunification took place on 3 October 1990, when the five re-established states of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin was united into a single city-state. Therefore, this date applies to today's Federal Republic of Germany as a whole, although the area of former East Germany was no part of that parliamentary republic until 1990.
- Irish head of state from 1936 to 1949.
- Latvia was previously a parliamentary republic between 1921 and 1934 when the then prime minister Kārlis Ulmanis took power in a coup d'état. In June 1940 Latvia was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
- The first parliamentary elections were held in February and March 1990; while the Communist Party of Moldova was the only one registered for this contest, opposition candidates were allowed to run as individuals. In 1991, the country declared the independence from Soviet Union and, in 1994, were held the first competitive elections.
- In June 1940, Lithuania was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
- Post of President of Russia is created, and development of separation of powers is started, some of Supreme Soviet's executive powers is transferred to new post. Before that, Russia was a Soviet republic.
- Preceded by crisis and armed dissolving of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, then-parliament of the Russian Federation.
- Arend Lijphart, ed. (1992). Parliamentary versus presidential government. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-878044-3.
- Kiran Khalid, CNN (2010-04-09). "Pakistan lawmakers approve weakening of presidential powers". CNN.com. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- "'18th Amendment to restore Constitution' | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online". Nation.com.pk. Retrieved 2010-04-14.