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. 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). 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 is a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote.
Current countries self-described as democratic republics
|Country||Since||Form of government||Freedom House freedom rating|
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea||9 September 1948||Juche single-party socialist state under a totalitarian dictatorship||Not free^|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||30 June 1960||Semi-presidential republic||Not free|
|Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste||20 May 2002||Parliamentary republic||Partly free|
|Democratic Republic of Nepal||28 May 2008||Republic||Partly free|
|Lao People's Democratic Republic||2 December 1975||Marxist-Leninist single-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||Parliamentary republic||Free|
|Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia||August 1995||Parliamentary republic||Not free|
Former countries self-described as democratic republics
- Fulbrook, Mary (1997). Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR 1949-1989. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820720-7.
- "Combined Average Ratings - Independent Countries" (PDF). Freedom House. 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
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