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Federal republic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. At its core, the literal meaning of the word republic when used to reference a form of government means a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader, such as a president, rather than by a monarch.

In a federal republic, a division of powers exists between the federal government and the government of the individual subdivisions. While each federal republic manages this division of powers differently, common matters relating to security and defense, and monetary policy are usually handled at the federal level, while matters such as infrastructure maintenance and education policy are usually handled at the regional or local level; however, views differ on what issues should be a federal competence, and subdivisions usually have sovereignty in some matters where the federal government does not have jurisdiction. A federal republic is thus best defined in contrast to a unitary republic, whereby the central government has complete sovereignty over all aspects of political life. This more decentralized structure helps to explain the tendency for more populous countries to operate as federal republics.[1]

Most federal republics codify the division of powers between orders of government in a written constitutional document. The political differences between a federal republic and other federal states, especially federal monarchies under a parliamentary system of government, are largely a matter of legal form rather than political substance, as most federal states are democratic in structure if not practice with checks and balances; however, some federal monarchies, such as the United Arab Emirates, are based upon principles other than democracy.

Federal states primarily contrast with unitary states, where the central government retains many of the powers that are delegated to the subdivisions in federal republics. While there are exceptions, the overall tendency is for federal republics to be larger, more populous, and more internally heterogeneous than unitary states, with such larger size and internal heterogeneity being more manageable in a federal system than in a unitary one.


Country Official name and style Administrative divisions Form of government Head of state Head of government
 Argentina Argentine Republic Provinces (23) and autonomous city (1) Presidential system
 Austria[2] Republic of Austria States (9) Parliamentary republic Alexander Van der Bellen Karl Nehammer
 Bosnia and Herzegovina[3] Bosnia and Herzegovina Entities (2) and self-governing district (1) Parliamentary republic Željka Cvijanović
Denis Bećirović
Željko Komšić
Borjana Krišto
 Brazil[4] Federative Republic of Brazil States (26) and federal district (1) Presidential system
 Comoros Union of the Comoros Autonomous islands (3) Presidential system
 Ethiopia[5] Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Regions (10) and chartered cities (2) Parliamentary republic Sahle-Work Zewde Abiy Ahmed
 Germany[6] Federal Republic of Germany States (16) Parliamentary republic Frank-Walter Steinmeier Olaf Scholz
 India[7] Republic of India States (28) and union territories (8) Parliamentary republic Droupadi Murmu Narendra Modi
 Iraq Republic of Iraq Governorates (19) Parliamentary republic Abdul Latif Rashid Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani
 Mexico[8] United Mexican States States (31) and autonomous entity (1) Presidential system
 Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia States (4) Presidential system
   Nepal[9] Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal[10] Provinces (7) Parliamentary republic Ram Chandra Poudel Pushpa Kamal Dahal
 Nigeria[11] Federal Republic of Nigeria States (36) and federal territory (1) Presidential system
 Pakistan[12] Islamic Republic of Pakistan Provinces (4), autonomous territories (2) and federal territory (1) Parliamentary republic Asif Ali Zardari Shehbaz Sharif
 Russia[13] Russian Federation Federal subjects (85) Semi-presidential system Vladimir Putin Mikhail Mishustin
 Somalia Federal Republic of Somalia Federal member states (6) Parliamentary republic Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (acting) Hamza Abdi Barre
 South Sudan Republic of South Sudan States (10), administrative areas (2) and area with special administrative status (1) Presidential system
 Sudan Republic of the Sudan States (18) Provisional government Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Osman Hussein
  Switzerland[14] Swiss Confederation Cantons (26) Directorial Parliamentary republic
 United States[15] United States of America States (50), federal district (1) and territories (14), nine of which are uninhabited. Presidential system
 Venezuela[16] Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela States (23) and capital district (1) Presidential system


Country Official name and style Period of federal form of government Administrative divisions
Regency of Algiers[17] Regency of Algiers
Kingdom of Algiers
1563–1830[18] Beyliks
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Serenissima Res Publica Poloniae 1569–1795 Provinces and Voivodeships
 Dutch Republic Republic of the Seven United Netherlands 1581–1795 Provinces
Valais Republic of the Seven Tithings 1613–1798
 Gran Colombia Republic of Colombia 1819–1831
Federal Republic of Central America Federal Republic of Central American 1823–1838
Granadine Confederation Granadine Confederation 1858–1863
United States of Colombia United States of Colombia 1863–1886 States
First Spanish Republic Spanish Republic 1873-1874
Republic of China Republic of China 1912–1928 Provinces
Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus 1917–1922 Republics
 Weimar Republic German Reich 1919–1933 States
 East Germany German Democratic Republic 1949–1990 States
 Soviet Union[a] Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1922–1991 Republics
 Yugoslavia[19] Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (1945–1963)
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1963–1992)
1945–1992 Republics
 Serbia and Montenegro Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992–2003)

State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2003–2006)

1992–2006 Constituent republics
 Burma Union of Burma 1948–1962 States
 Indonesia Republic of the United States of Indonesia 1949–1950[b] States
 Cameroon Federal Republic of Cameroon 1961–1972
 Czechoslovak Socialist Republic[19] Czechoslovak Republic (1948–1960)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1960–1990)
1969–1990 Republics
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic Czech and Slovak Federative Republic 1990–1992 Republics

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nominally a federal union of multiple national republics; in practice its government and economy were highly centralized until its final years.
  2. ^ The states lived on until a final treaty in 1956 in which Republic of South Maluku and the State of Eastern Sumatra agreed to devolve into the Republic of Indonesia.


  1. ^ Forum of Federations: [1], Schram, Sanford. Handbook of Federal Countries: United States, pp. 373–391, 2005.
  2. ^ CIA World Factbook: Austria, 14 May 2009
  3. ^ CIA World Factbook: Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14 May 2009
  4. ^ CIA World Factbook: Brazil, 14 May 2009
  5. ^ CIA World Factbook: Ethiopia, 14 May 2009
  6. ^ CIA World Factbook: Germany, 14 May 2009
  7. ^ CIA World Factbook: India, 14 May 2009
  8. ^ CIA World Factbook: Mexico, 14 May 2009
  9. ^ CIA World Factbook: Nepal, 14 May 2009
  10. ^ "UNTERM". unterm.un.org. Retrieved 2022-07-03.
  11. ^ CIA World Factbook: Nigeria, 14 May 2009
  12. ^ CIA World Factbook: Pakistan, 14 May 2009
  13. ^ "Text of the Russian constitution in English". Constituteproject.org.
  14. ^ CIA World Factbook: Switzerland, 14 May 2009
  15. ^ CIA World Factbook: United States, 14 May 2009
  16. ^ CIA World Factbook: Venezuela, 14 May 2009
  17. ^ Julien, Charles André (1970). History of North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. From the Arab Conquest to 1830. Internet Archive. New York, Praeger. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-7100-6614-5.
  18. ^ Kaddache, Mahfoud (2003). L'Algérie des Algériens: de la préhistoire à 1954 [Algeria of the Algerians: from prehistory to 1954] (in French). Paris-Méditerranée. p. 377. ISBN 978-2-84272-166-4.
  19. ^ a b "The CIA World Factbook officially dated October 15, 1991". Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-02-05.

External links[edit]