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List of countries by system of government

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

World's states coloured by systems of government:
Parliamentary systems: Head of government is elected or nominated by and accountable to the legislature
  Constitutional monarchy with a ceremonial monarch
  Parliamentary republic with a ceremonial president

Presidential system: Head of government (president) is popularly elected and independent of the legislature
  Presidential republic

Hybrid systems:
  Semi-presidential republic: Executive president is independent of the legislature; head of government is appointed by the president and is accountable to the legislature
  Assembly-independent republic: Head of government (president or directory) is elected by the legislature, but is not accountable to it

  Semi-constitutional monarchy: Monarch holds significant executive or legislative power
  Absolute monarchy: Monarch has unlimited power
  One-party state: Power is constitutionally linked to a single political party
  Military junta: Committee of military leaders controls the government; constitutional provisions are suspended
  Provisional government: No constitutionally defined basis to current regime
  Dependent territories and places without governments

Note: this chart represent de jure systems of government, not the de facto degree of democracy.

This is a list of sovereign states by constitutionally defined de jure system of government. This list does not measure degree of democracy, political corruption, or state capacity of governments.

Parliamentary systems[edit]

Constitutional monarchies[edit]

These are systems in which the head of state is a constitutional monarch; the existence of their office and their ability to exercise their authority is established and restrained by constitutional law.

Systems in which a prime minister is the active head of the executive branch of government. In some cases, the prime minister is also leader of the legislature, while in other cases the executive branch is clearly separated from legislature (although the entire cabinet or individual ministers must step down in the case of a vote of no confidence).[1][2][dubiousdiscuss] The head of state is a constitutional monarch who normally only exercises his or her powers with the consent of the government, the people and/or their representatives (except in emergencies, e.g. a constitutional crisis or a political deadlock).[a]

Parliamentary republics with a ceremonial president[edit]

In a parliamentary republic, the head of government is selected or nominated by the legislature and is also accountable to it. The head of state is usually called a president and (in full parliamentary republics) is separate from the head of government, serving a largely apolitical, ceremonial role. In these systems, the head of government is usually called the prime minister, chancellor or premier. In mixed republican systems and directorial republican systems, the head of government also serves as head of state and is usually titled president.

In some full parliamentary systems, the head of state is directly elected by voters. Under other classification systems, however, these systems may instead be classed as semi-presidential systems as presidents are always attached to a political party and may have broad powers (despite their weak presidency).[3] Full parliamentary republican systems with presidents being purely ceremonial and neutral with no broad powers, do usually not have a directly elected head of state and instead often use either an electoral college or a vote in the legislature to appoint the president.

Directly elected head of state[edit]

Indirectly elected head of state[edit]

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

Parliamentary republics with an executive president[edit]

A combined head of state and head of government in the form of an executive president is either elected by the legislature or by the voters from among candidates nominated by the legislature (in the case of Kiribati),[23] and they must maintain the confidence of the legislature to remain in office. In effect, "presidents" in this system function the same as prime ministers do in other parliamentary systems.

Presidential systems[edit]

In presidential systems a president is the head of government, and is elected and remains in office independently of the legislature. There is generally no prime minister, although if one exists, in most cases they serve purely at the discretion of the president.

Presidential republics without a prime minister[edit]

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

Presidential republics with a prime minister[edit]

The following countries have presidential systems where a post of prime minister (official title may vary) exists alongside that of the president. The president is still both the head of state and government and the prime minister's roles are mostly to assist the president.

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

Hybrid systems[edit]

Semi-presidential republics[edit]

In a semi-presidential republic a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter two being responsible to the legislature. It differs from a parliamentary system in that it has an executive president independent from legislature; and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, is responsible to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.[30][31][32][33]

Premier-presidential systems[edit]

In a premier-presidential system the prime minister and cabinet are exclusively accountable to the legislature.[34]

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

President-parliamentary systems[edit]

In a president-parliamentary system the prime minister and cabinet are dually accountable to the president and the legislature.[34]

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

Assembly-independent republics[edit]

Single Head of State/Government[edit]

A combined head of state and head of government (usually titled president) is elected by the legislature but is not held accountable to it (as is their cabinet), thus acting more independently from the legislature.[34] They may or may not also hold a seat in the legislature.

No single Head of State/Government[edit]

In a directorial republic, a council jointly exercises the powers and ceremonial roles of both the head of state and head of government. The council is elected by the parliament, but is not subject to parliamentary confidence during its fixed term. The so called president is a primus inter pares and has only representative tasks.

Semi-constitutional monarchies[edit]

The prime minister is the nation's active executive, but the monarch still has considerable political powers that can be used at their own discretion.

Absolute monarchies[edit]

Specifically, monarchies in which the monarch's exercise of power is unconstrained by any substantive constitutional law. The monarch acts as both head of state and head of government.

One-party states[edit]

States in which political power is by law concentrated within one political party whose operations are largely fused with the government hierarchy (in contrast to states where a multi-party system formally exists, but this fusion is achieved anyway through election fraud or underdeveloped multi-party traditions).

Nations with limited recognition are in italics.

Military juntas[edit]

A committee of the nation's military leaders controls the government for the duration of a state of emergency. Constitutional provisions for government are suspended in these states; constitutional forms of government are stated in parentheses.

Provisional governments[edit]

States that have a system of government that is in transition or turmoil. These regimes lack a constitutional basis.

Systems of internal structure[edit]

Unitary states[edit]

A state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 126 are governed as centralized unitary states, and an additional 40 are regionalized unitary states.

Centralized unitary states[edit]

States in which most power is exercised by the central government. What local authorities do exist have few powers.

Regionalized unitary states[edit]

States in which the central government has delegated some of its powers to regional authorities, but where constitutional authority ultimately remains entirely at a national level.


States in which the national government shares power with regional governments with which it has legal or constitutional parity. The central government may or may not be (in theory) a creation of the regional governments.

European Union[edit]

The exact political character of the European Union is debated, some arguing that it is sui generis (unique), but others arguing that it has features of a federation or a confederation. It has elements of intergovernmentalism, with the European Council acting as its collective "president", and also elements of supranationalism, with the European Commission acting as its executive and bureaucracy.[58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Some monarchs are given a limited number of discretionary reserve powers only to be used in certain circumstances in accordance with their responsibility to defend the constitution.
  2. ^ The Bishop of Urgell and President of France serve as ex officio co-princes who have their interests known through a representative.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q One of fifteen constitutional monarchies which recognize the Monarch of the United Kingdom as head of state, who presides over an independent government. The Monarch is titled separately in each country (e.g. King of Australia), and notionally appoints a Governor-General (GG) to each country other than the United Kingdom to act as his representative. The prime minister (PM) is the active head of the executive branch of government and also leader of the legislature. These countries may be known as "Commonwealth realms".
    In many cases, the Governor-General or monarch has a lot more theoretical, or constitutional, powers than they actually exercise, except on the advice of elected officials, per constitutional convention. For example, the Constitution of Australia makes the GG the head of the executive branch (including commander-in-chief of the armed forces), although they seldom ever use this power, except on the advice of elected officials, especially the PM, which makes the PM the de facto head of government.[citation needed]
  4. ^ a b c The Cook Islands and Niue are under the sovereignty of the Monarch of New Zealand as self-governing states in free association with New Zealand. New Zealand and its associated states, along with Tokelau and the Ross Dependency, comprise the Realm of New Zealand.[citation needed]
  5. ^ Collective presidency consisting of three members; one for each major ethnic group.
  6. ^ Despite having a collective head of state, Bosnia and Herzegovina's head of state is ceremonial, and as such is not executively governed by a directorial system.
  7. ^ The Republic of Poland has been defined de jure by its Constitution as a parliamentary republic. However, the system is largely semi-presidential in nature as the President of Poland does exercise some power – the head of state appoints the Prime Minister as the head of government, and can veto legislation as well as dissolve parliament in certain situations. The Cabinet and Prime Minister appointed by the President are subject to a vote of confidence by the Polish Parliament (Sejm).[11][12][13][14][15][16]
  8. ^ Their two-person head of state, the Captains Regent, serve for six month terms.
  9. ^ Despite having a collective head of state, San Marino's head of state is ceremonial, and as such is not executively governed by a directorial system.
  10. ^ The president is elected by parliament and holds a parliamentary seat (as an ex-officio), much like a prime minister. If a vote of no confidence is successful and they do not resign, it triggers the dissolution of the legislature and new elections (per section 92 of the Constitution).
  11. ^ a b c d President and legislature are elected directly by the people via double simultaneous vote.
  12. ^ The president is constitutionally obligated to dissolve parliament after a successful no-confidence motion against the government (article 106(6)) and new elections are called within 3 months (article 61).[24]
  13. ^ Per the Constitution, Kiribati's president is elected by plurality voting after candidates for the presidency are nominated by the newly elected legislature. If a vote of no confidence against the president is successful, they are removed from office and the legislature stands dissolved (triggering a new election for it) and in the interim a body known as the "Council of State" (comprising the chief justice, the president of the public service commission and speaker of the legislature) serves the functions of the presidency.
  14. ^ Self-described as the Islamic Republic, Iran combines the forms of a presidential republic, with a president elected by universal suffrage, and a theocracy, with a Supreme Leader who is ultimately responsible for state policy, chosen for life by the elected Assembly of Experts. Candidates for both the Assembly of Experts and the presidency are vetted by the appointed Guardian Council.
  15. ^ The Republic of Austria is de jure semi-presidential according to the country's Constitution, however behaves more like a parliamentary republic in practice by constitutional convention, with the Chancellor being the country's leading political figure despite nominally being ranked third according to the Constitution.
  16. ^ Nominally a parliamentary republic; the semi-presidential system is based on temporary additional articles. According to the Constitution of the Republic of China, the National Assembly indirectly elects the President of the Republic, which is the ceremonial figurehead of the state. Executive power rested with the President of the Executive Yuan, who is nominated and appointed by the president, with the consent of the Legislative Yuan. The additional articles made the President directly elected by the citizens of the free area and replaced Legislative Yuan confirmation for Premieral appointments with a conventional vote of no confidence, superseding the ordinary constitutional provisions. A sunset clause in the additional articles will terminate them in the event of a hypothetical resumption of ROC rule in Mainland China.
  17. ^ Holds a legislative seat.
  18. ^ The President of Switzerland serves in a primus inter pares capacity amongst the Swiss Federal Council, the seven-member executive council which constitutes both the presidency and the government.
  19. ^ A federal absolute monarchy in which, different monarchies, or in this case, sheikhdoms fulfill both the duty of president and prime minister, although in actuality they are monarchs.
  20. ^ The Vatican is an elective absolute monarchy and a Roman Catholic theocracy; its monarch, the Pope, is the head of the global Roman Catholic Church. His power within the Vatican City State is unlimited by any constitution; however, as all its citizens and its residents are ordained Catholic clergy, members of the Swiss Guard, or their immediate family, they arguably have consented to obey the Pope or are minors. (Citizenship is jus officii, on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See and usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is also extended to the spouse and children of a citizen, provided they are living together in the city; in practice, these are few in number, since the bulk of Vatican citizens are celibate Catholic clerics or religious. Some individuals are also authorized to reside in the city but do not qualify or choose not to request citizenship.)[42]
  21. ^ The President of China is legally a ceremonial office; however, since 1993, the presidency has been held by the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, who is the most powerful figure in the political system.[43] For more info see politics of China.
  22. ^ Afghanistan: As of December 2022, despite the loss of territory to the Taliban in 2021, the Islamic Republic continues to hold Afghanistan's seat at the United Nations, with the newly reinstated Islamic Emirate remaining unrecognized by the organization.[55]
  23. ^ Disputed between the internationally recognized Presidential Leadership Council and the Supreme Political Council.[57]


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  15. ^ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). French Politics. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087. Retrieved 21 August 2017. Even if the president has no discretion in the forming of cabinets or the right to dissolve parliament, his or her constitutional authority can be regarded as 'quite considerable' in Duverger's sense if cabinet legislation approved in parliament can be blocked by the people's elected agent. Such powers are especially relevant if an extraordinary majority is required to override a veto, as in Mongolia, Poland, and Senegal. In these cases, while the government is fully accountable to parliament, it cannot legislate without taking the potentially different policy preferences of the president into account.
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  20. ^ "Slovenia 1991 (rev. 2013)". www.constituteproject.org. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  21. ^ "San Marino: Constitution - 1974" (PDF). Peaceful Assembly Worldwide.
  22. ^ "San Marino: Freedom in the World 2021 Country Report".
  23. ^ a b "Kiribati's Constitution of 1979 with Amendments through 1995" (PDF). www.constituteproject.org. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  24. ^ Constitution (2012). "CONSTITUTION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA ACT" (PDF). Parliament of Guyana.
  25. ^ "Marshall Islands 1979 (rev. 1995)". www.constituteproject.org. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Nauru 1968 (rev. 2015)". www.constituteproject.org. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  27. ^ "South Africa's Constitution of 1996 with Amendments through 2012" (PDF). www.constituteproject.org. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  28. ^ "CONSTITUIÇÃO DA REPÚBLICA DE ANGOLA" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  29. ^ "Official website of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan".
  30. ^ Duverger (1980). "A New Political System Model: Semi-Presidential Government". European Journal of Political Research (quarterly). 8 (2): 165–187. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.1980.tb00569.x. The concept of a semi-presidential form of government, as used here, is defined only by the content of the constitution. A political regime is considered as semi-presidential if the constitution which established it, combines three elements: (1) the president of the republic is elected by universal suffrage, (2) he possesses quite considerable powers; (3) he has opposite him, however, a prime minister and ministers who possess executive and governmental power and can stay in office only if the parliament does not show its opposition to them.
  31. ^ Veser, Ernst [in German] (1997). "Semi-Presidentialism-Duverger's concept: A New Political System Model" (PDF). Journal for Humanities and Social Sciences. 11 (1): 39–60. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  32. ^ Duverger, Maurice (September 1996). "Les monarchies républicaines" [The Republican Monarchies] (PDF). Pouvoirs, revue française d'études constitutionnelles et politiques (in French). No. 78. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. pp. 107–120. ISBN 2-02-030123-7. ISSN 0152-0768. OCLC 909782158. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  33. ^ Bahro, Horst; Bayerlein, Bernhard H.; Veser, Ernst [in German] (October 1998). "Duverger's concept: Semi-presidential government revisited". European Journal of Political Research (quarterly). 34 (2): 201–224. doi:10.1111/1475-6765.00405. S2CID 153349701. The conventional analysis of government in democratic countries by political science and constitutional law starts from the traditional types of presidentialism and parliamentarism. There is, however, a general consensus that governments in the various countries work quite differently. This is why some authors have inserted distinctive features into their analytical approaches, at the same time maintaining the general dichotomy. Maurice Duverger, trying to explain the French Fifth Republic, found that this dichotomy was not adequate for this purpose. He therefore resorted to the concept of 'semi-presidential government': The characteristics of the concept are (Duverger 1974: 122, 1978: 28, 1980: 166):
    1. the president of the republic is elected by universal suffrage,
    2. he possesses quite considerable powers and
    3. he has opposite him a prime minister who possesses executive and governmental powers and can stay in office only if parliament does not express its opposition to him.
  34. ^ a b c Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns". French Politics. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087.
  35. ^ Kudelia, Serhiy (4 May 2018). "Presidential activism and government termination in dual-executive Ukraine". Post-Soviet Affairs. 34 (4): 246–261. doi:10.1080/1060586X.2018.1465251. S2CID 158492144.
  36. ^ a b Zaznaev, Oleg (2005). "Атипичные президентские и полупрезидентские системы" [Atypical presidential and semi-presidential systems]. Uchenyye Zapiski Kazanskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta (in Russian). 147 (1): 62–64. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  37. ^ Leubnoudji Tan Nathan (4 October 2023). "Chad's Proposed New Constitution: Between Hopes for Refoundation and an Uncertain Future". ConstitutionNet. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
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  42. ^ "Law on citizenship, residence and access" (in Italian). Vatican City State. 11 February 2011.
  43. ^ Chris Buckley and Adam Wu (10 March 2018). "Ending Term Limits for China's Xi Is a Big Deal. Here's Why. – Is the presidency powerful in China?". New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2019. In China, the political job that matters most is the general secretary of the Communist Party. The party controls the military and domestic security forces, and sets the policies that the government carries out. China's presidency lacks the authority of the American and French presidencies.
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  58. ^ For more detailed discussion, see John McCormick, European Union Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Chapters 1 and 2.