Democratic republic

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A democratic republic is, strictly speaking, a country that is both a republic and a democracy. It is one where ultimate authority and power is derived from the citizens, and the government itself is run through elected officials.

However, in recent practice, countries that have described themselves as democratic republics have not always held free or fair elections. Two examples of this were the German Democratic Republic and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, communist states commonly known as East Germany and North Vietnam.[1] Another is the Democratic Republic of the Congo which in 2011 was rated by Freedom House as a "not free" country, having a rating of 6.0 (1.0 being completely free and 7.0 being completely unfree).[2] Also, the 'Democratic People's Republic of Korea', commonly known as North Korea, is rated the least democratic in the world, run by a dictator. A republic (from Latin: res publica) is a sovereign state or country which is organised with a form of government in which power resides in elected individuals representing the citizen body and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law.

Current countries self-described as democratic republics[edit]

Country Since Form of government Freedom House freedom rating
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea 9 September 1948 Juche one-party state Not free^
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 30 June 1960 Semi-presidential republic Not free
 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste 20 May 2002 Semi-presidential republic Partly free
   Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal 28 May 2008 Parliamentary republic Partly free
 Lao People's Democratic Republic 2 December 1975 Marxist-Leninist one-party state Not free
 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 22 May 1972 Democratic socialist semi-presidential republic Partly free
 People's Democratic Republic of Algeria 5 July 1962 Semi-presidential republic Not free
 Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe 12 July 1975 Semi-presidential republic Free
 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia August 1995 Parliamentary republic Not free

Former countries self-described as democratic republics[edit]

Country Since Until Form of government
Afghanistan Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 27 April 1978 28 April 1992 One-party socialist state
East Germany German Democratic Republic 7 October 1949 3 October 1990 Marxist-Leninist socialist state
Ethiopia People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 22 February 1987 27 May 1991 Marxist-Leninist one-party state
Somalia Somali Democratic Republic 21 October 1969 26 January 1991 One-party socialist state
Madagascar Democratic Republic of Madagascar 21 December 1975 19 August 1992 One-party socialist state
Sudan Democratic Republic of the Sudan 8 May 1973 10 October 1985 One-party state
Democratic Republic of Georgia Democratic Republic of Georgia 26 May 1918 25 February 1921 Republic
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Democratic Republic 28 May 1918 28 April 1920 Parliamentary republic
North Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam 2 September 1945 2 July 1976 One-party socialist state
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen 1 December 1970 22 May 1990 Marxist-Leninist one-party state
Democratic Republic of Yemen 21 May 1994 7 July 1994 Short-lived republic

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fulbrook, Mary (1997). Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR 1949-1989. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820720-7. 
  2. ^ "Combined Average Ratings - Independent Countries" (PDF). Freedom House. 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.