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A provisional government also called an interim or transitional government is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition, generally in the cases of new nations, or following the collapse of the previous governing administration. Provisional governments are generally appointed, and frequently arise either during or after civil or foreign wars.
Provisional governments maintain power until a new government can be appointed by a regular political process, which is generally an election. They may be involved with defining the legal structure of subsequent regimes, guidelines related to human rights and political freedoms, the structure of the economy, government institutions, and international alignment. Provisional governments differ from caretaker governments, which are responsible for governing within an established parliamentary system and serve as placeholders following a motion of no confidence, or following the dissolution of the ruling coalition.
In opinion of Yossi Shain and Juan J. Linz, provisional governments can be classified to four groups:
- Revolutionary provisional governments (when the former regime is overthrown and the power belongs to the ones who have overthrown it).
- Power sharing provisional governments (when the power is shared between former regime and the ones who are trying to change it).
- Incumbent provisional governments (when the power during transitional period belongs to the former regime).
- International provisional governments (when the power during the transitional period belongs to the international community).
The establishment of provisional governments is frequently tied to the implementation of transitional justice. Decisions related to transitional justice can determine who is allowed to participate in a provisional government.
The early provisional governments were created to prepare for the return of royal rule. Irregularly convened assemblies during the English Revolution, such as Confederate Ireland (1641–49), were described as "provisional". The practice of using "provisional government" as part of a formal name can be traced to Talleyrand's government in France in 1814. The numerous provisional governments during the Revolutions of 1848 gave the word its modern meaning: A liberal government established to prepare for elections. The most notable provisional government was the Russian Provisional Government in 1917
Examples of provisional governments active in the 20th and 21st centuries are:
- Provisional Government of Spain (1868–1871), pending the election of a new Constitutional Monarch.
- 1901 caretaker government of Australia, established pending the first election to the newly established Commonwealth of Australia.
- Provisional Government of the Republic of China (1912), established after the success of the Wuchang uprising.
- Provisional Government of the Republic of China (1937–40), established by the Empire of Japan when invading Eastern China.
- Provisional Government of Western Thrace (1913), established in modern Greece in opposition to annexation by Bulgaria during the Second Balkan War.
- Provisional Government of Northern Epirus (1914), established against annexation to Albania.
- Provisional Government of India (1915), established in Kabul.
- Republic of Van (1915), established in Western Armenia.
- Provisional Government of the Irish Republic (1916), a title adopted by the leadership of the short-lived Easter Rising.
- Provisional Government of National Defence (northern Greece), 1916
- Russian Provisional Government (1917), established as a result of the February Revolution which led to abdication of power by Tsar Nicholas II.
- Estonian Provisional Government (1918–1919)
- Latvian Provisional Government (1918–1920)
- Ukrainian Provisional Government (1918).
- Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (1919), established in exile based in Shanghai, China and later in Chongqing, during the Japanese occupation of Korea.
- Provisional Government of Ireland (1922), established by agreement between the British government and Irish revolutionaries, in order to pave the way for the establishment of the Irish Free State in the same year.
- Provisional Government of Lithuania (1941), established when Lithuanians overthrew the Soviet occupation during the Lithuanian 1941 independence. It functioned briefly until Nazi Germany annexed the country.
- Provisional Government of Free India (1943–1945), established by Indian nationalists in southeast Asia, had nominal sovereignty over Axis controlled Indian territories, and had diplomatic relationships with nine countries.
- Provisional Government of Italy (1944)
- Provisional Government of Hungary (1944–1945)
- Flensburg Government (1945) a short lived provisional Government of Nazi Germany following Adolf Hitler's death in the Battle of Berlin
- French Committee of National Liberation (Comité Français de Libération Nationale, CFLN) (1943–44), set up in Algiers, then a part of metropolitan France.
- Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF) (1944–46), government of the provisional Republic until the establishment of the IVth Republic.
- Interim Government of India (1946–1947), an interim government formed by the newly created Constituent Assembly of India to administer what would become the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in the transitional period between British rule and independence.
- Provisional government of Israel (1948–49), established after Israel's declaration of independence and in place until after the first Knesset elections.
- Provisional Government of the Syrian Arab Republic (1949), established by national consensus to draft a new constitution and reintroduce civilian rule after a series of military governments.
- Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (1958–62) (guerrilla movement)
- Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (1969–1976), established during the Vietnam War against America and Republic of Vietnam
- Provisional Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (1970–1972), established after the declaration of freedom of Bengalis exiled to Calcutta.
- Interim Government of Iran, a provisional government established after the 1979 Iranian Revolution
- Transitional Government of National Unity (Namibia) (1985-1989)
- Government of National Understanding, established in Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
- National Salvation Front, established in Romania after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu and the end of the Socialist Republic of Romania in 1989.
- Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (1988–), after it was entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine.
- Transitional Government of Ethiopia (1991–1995)
- Palestinian National Authority (1994–), the administrative organization, established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, following the Oslo Accords.
- Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (2003–2004) with the Iraqi Interim Governing Council, established to act as a caretaker administration in Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq pending the hand over of power to the Iraqi people and the creation of a democratically elected civilian government.
- Iraqi Interim Government and the Iraqi Transitional Government were both provisional authorities established after the hand over of power to the Iraqi people following the 2003 invasion of Iraq to govern pending the adoption of a permanent constitution.
- National Transitional Council of Libya formed during the 2011 civil war in Libya against the Gaddafi-led government.
- A provisional government was established in Yemen (2015–) after the 2014–15 Yemeni coup d'état.
- The UN supported Government of National Accord for Libya, formed in 2016
- Flensburg Government (1945), established following the suicides of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels during the closing days of the Third Reich.
- Republic of Van (1915), established in Van Province.
- South West Caucasian Republic (1919), established in Kars.
- Articles of Confederation (1777-1787), the supreme law in America established during the American Revolution until the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.
- National Council of Government (1986-1988), interim ruling body of Haiti, after the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier
- National Salvation Front (1989), after the overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu's regime in the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
- Eritrea has had a transitional government.(1993)
- Government in exile
- Provisional Revolutionary Government
- Provisional Government of Oregon
- Caretaker government
- "caretaker government". Credo Reference. Dictionary of politics and government. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- Shain(1) Linz(2), Yossi(1) Linz(2) (January 1992). "The Role of Interim Governments". Journal of Democracy. doi:10.1353/jod.1992.0012.
- Yossi Shain, Juan J. Linz, "Between States: Interim Governments in Democratic Transitions", 1995, ISBN 9780521484985 , p. 5
- McAuliffe, Padraig (09/01/2010). "Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law". ague Journal of the Rule of Law. doi:10.1017/S1876404510200015. Check date values in:
- Dyzenhaus, David (2001–2004). "udicial Independence, Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law". Otago Law Review.
- Sayigh, Yezid (1999). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 624. ISBN 9780198296430. "The Palestinian National Council also empowered the central council to form a government-in-exile when appropriate, and the executive committee to perform the functions of government until such time as a government-in-exile was established."
- United Nations General Assembly Session 67 Resolution 19. A/RES/67/19 Retrieved 2013-01-07.
- "The Palestinian Authority".