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  • Split : Split into a Forms of governance article and keep only content specific to federations


Some countries exhibit characteristics of a federation, but are not. For example, Spain has a relationship resembling that of a federation with its autonomous communities; however, they are created by and exist at the suffrance of the central government, rather than being distinct entities that have chosen to join together.

In this case, you've have to add Belgium to this list too... -, Dec 2003


Under "Long form titles", the UAE is listed under "None" when it is pretty clear that it is a long form title. It is similar to Mexico, listed under "Others" - United Mexican States as compared with United Arab Emirates - Mexico, like Arabia, is the geographical location, while States, like Emirates, is the political subentity. I've edited the page

In addition, according to the first clause of Article 1 of the Malaysian constitution, it states (roughly translated), "The Federation shall be known, in Malay and in English, by the name Malaysia." It doesn't state "Federation of Malaysia" or "Persekutuan Malaysia". But since the article Malaysia uses "Persekutuan Malaysia", I'll shall keep it that way. --Rajan R 06:58, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Is Tanzania a federation?[edit]

Since Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form Tanzania, only Zanzibar has been the only autonomous region - are the new regions really comparable to federal states? - Quiensabe

This is similar to France granting its territories autonomy, I think, and hardly counts. The Jade Knight 11:16, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Nominal Federations[edit]

Someone keeps editing the Defunct list to call the two large communist federations "nominal federations". What is the point of this? Nominal federation would imply that the name of the state would indicate it was a federation. Whilst this would be true for Yugoslavia, The USSR's title simply states "Union", which implies it was a federation as much as the "United" in the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", the "United Republic of Tanzania" and the "United Arab Republic" would imply that these states were federations with a federal (rather than devolved) structure. Bias against the USSR and Yugoslavia or any other state isn't supposed to be allowed in these articles, so pronouncing these states as "nominal" federations, when by their constitutions and governmental structure they did display some federal features, will only confuse the issue of what is or is not a federation. Just as there are different types of monarchies, so are there are different types of republics, unitary states, theocracies, federations and confederations (which brings up the point that if the USSR and Yugoslavia are nominal federations, then the CSA isn't a federation at all by it's very name). Nobody says the UK is a "nominal monarchy", but everyone knows it is a constitutional monarchy. So, since the article itself acknowledges the blurriness of what exactly constitutes a federation, can we please not categorize certain states with vague, pointless labels.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 4 November 2009 (UTC) 
Ok, strictly speaking "de jure" or something might have been better than "nominal". The definition of federation given in the article is not that vague. It states that a federation has self-governing regions with constitutionally entrenched status. Can you really say that the components of the USSR and SFR Yugoslavia were self-governing in any real sense? My understanding is that the USSR was a highly centralised state. But correct me if I'm wrong.
Iota 02:07, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You are correct thatthe definition of a federation is not vague, sorry. However the article does note the wide variation that one can have in federal states. The components of the USSR had their own local governments modelled along lines similar to that of the national government with Supreme Soviets of "place republic here" being the main legislative body of the republic. Also each republic (and each autonomous republic) sent a given number of deputies (and this was written into the constitution) to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Whilst for much of the USSR's existence it would be hard to see the republics as self-governing at all, the fact that the Communist Party controlled everything from the national government right down through the local government and below, makes it more difficult to separate the structure of the state/USSR (which was federal) from the structure and tendencies of the Communist Party (which was towards being authoritarian and thus centralized). If either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party was the only legal party in the USA, then it would be a state with self-governing components, only that all of the components were governed by the same party with mostly the same ideals and tendencies. Also, all the Soviet republics showed just how self-governing they were by the late 1980s and 1990s when the various republic governments began declaring that their laws superceded those of the Union. Had it been truly centralized, then the Communist "Union" government in theory could have abolished the republics (although probably risking massive unrest if it did so) or the CPSU could have done away with republics at any one of the numerous times that it radically changed or amended or at times rewrote the Soviet Constitution, but it did not do so. It is certain that the USSR and SFR Yugoslavia were unusual federations, but federations can range from being loose (such as those defunct African ones like Mali) to strong (such as the USA).

You make good points. I've added a new subsection on the status of the Soviet Union and a footnote to qualify the inclusion of the USSR in the list of federations. I haven't done anything so far as SFR Yugoslavia is concerned because, on reflection, I don't think I know enough about it. Can you say if the situation in SFR Yugoslavia was much the same as in the Soviet Union? Iota 18:15, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

SFR Yugoslavia was also unusual, however, I have read in Time magazine and other sources about the variance between the republics of SFR Yugoslavia (for example, apparently Serbia and Belgrade in particular, was at times more liberal than Slovenia). Also communist Yugoslavia had modelled it's constitution on that of the Soviet Union's and each constituent socialist republic had its own constitution, supreme court, parliament, president or premier and prime minister and president of the communist party. So in essence, I would say that, yes, communist Yugoslavia was much the same as the Soviet Union.

Anonymous user,


Is a kingdom. Does anyone outside of this article's authorship refer to it as a federation? Ojw 13:29, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

No. Being a monarchy doesn't neccessarily disqualify it from being a federation (Canada and Australia for example), but regardless the UK is a classic unitary state. All subdivisions and devolved governments are within Parliament's control to create, amend, or abolish. Ddye 13:50, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


Belgium is listed as a unitary state but it refers to itself as a federation. This should be corrected

Patrick Fafard Canada

As far as I can gather it seems to be a federation so I've moved it to that list. But if anyone knows better please shout. Iota 00:04, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

-Belgium used to be a unitary state, but they made a change-over to federacy in the last decades :)

Quebec's powers[edit]

An example of an asymmetric federation is Canada, where Quebec, and other provinces, are granted enhanced powers in certain matters related to language and culture.

The last time I looked Ottawa was taking extreme care not to give Quebec any powers different from the other provinces. Any suggestions as to what powers are being referred to here? GreatWhiteNortherner 00:23, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)

We retained Foreign Affairs until minister Pettigrew made a fuss about it (and some provinces, like PEI, have taken the option of opting out of varying provincial powers, while Quebec exerts its full range of consitutional powers with this addition). Snapdragonfly 09:05, 9 January 2006 (UTC)


It appears to me that the German länder have some prominent characteristics of states within a federation, such as independence in financial management and economic policy — certainly the most independence of sub-national states in western Europe and yet they barely rate a mention. Grant65 (Talk) 04:53, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

What I'd like to note is to remove 3 states from the list and instead list them as "autonomous cities" in "minor federative units" (Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin). —Preceding unsigned comment added by NsMn (talkcontribs) 12:49, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

those city-states are full states of the Federal Republic with exactly the same duties and rights as any other state they are equal and NOT "minor federative units" 11:27, 11 July 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

United States[edit]

By the definition given in the first paragraph of the article, how do we call the U.S. a federation? The 'federal' government of the U.S. is largely its own animal, and it is that government that is sovereign. Each state is not sovereign. Am I wrong? -- D. F. Schmidt (talk) 06:09, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the states are sovereign. While the Federal government has developed pretty wide-ranging powers over time (with the states having little influence over federal legislation, unlike, say Germany), there are still areas of policy which the courts have ruled are reserved to the states, and more importantly, state boundaries cannot be altered without their consent and constitutional changes to give the federal government more power must be approved by 2/3 of state legislatures. Ddye 13:44, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
You are. The American states are technically supposed to be co-sovereign with the federal government. As the article states, the federal government is given jurisdiction in some areas. The rest are for the state governments. The Constitution was made before the UN definition of a state, which defined as sovereign country as an entity which could engage in all foreign affairs. Flag of the United States.svgChiss Boy 13:38, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with the article on the subject of Federation, except one. The United States is included as being a Federation, and having a concept form of government, called Federalism. What the United States "is", and the form of government that the United States has, is found on the Wikipedia page on the subject of "Constitutional Republic". Maybe where the misunderstanding came from, thinking that the United States "also" was a Federation, with a Federalist form of government, is from the "Federalist Papers". Keep in mind, during the first term of President George Washington, and during President John Adams term, of which Washington "leaned" toward the Federalist Party, and Adams was a member, the Federalist Party controlled the House of Representatives. The Senate was controlled by the Federalist Party, during all the years of Washington and Adams Administrations. The 1800 elections, were the end of the strength of the Federalist Party. Thomas Jefferson won the Presidential election, a Republican (also known as a Democratic-Republican. The Republicans also gained control of the House and Senate. The Federalist Papers were not given birth, until after the U.S. Constitution was drafted, and sent to the various states to be ratified. Alexander Hamilton wrote the very first of, what became known as, the Federalist Papers in support of the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton also founded the Federalist Party, supporting a "strong central Federal Government". Hamilton solicited John Jay into writing in support of the ratification also. Jay, later encouraged Hamilton to solicit James Madison, whom was the principle author of the U.S. Constitution, to also write in support of the ratification. James Madison went on to be elected the nation's fourth President, of which also was a Republican. Hamilton tried to steer the United States toward a Federalist form of government, but was fruitless in doing so. What America "is" today, and what the U.S. Constitution established, was a "Republic", with a "Democracy" form of government, established by a "Constitution". Going back to my first sentence, I have no problem with the article of "Federation", or even of the article of "Federalism". Except that the United States of America, does not fall in the description of the articles. And any reference to such, should be edited out. ~ J. L. Stout —Preceding unsigned comment added by J. L. Stout (talkcontribs) 06:22, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
The US is a federation, with a central gobvernment and constituent states. What you appear to be talking about is the difference between strong and weak federalism. - BilCat (talk) 07:00, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

I am confused. I thought the United States was a Republic, but this article does not help me get less confused. The Republic doesn't help, either. Should this article address this confusion, or am I the only one? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alohahi (talkcontribs) 08:03, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

European Union errors?[edit]

"Furthermore, member-states are separate, sovereign entities under international law and, currently at least, possess a de facto if not explicit de jure right of secession."

The right to leave the EU is an explicit, de jure if you like, privilege. Equally, the EU institutions have the ability to remove, or suspend the membership of a country. This happened in recent times when Austria was suspended due to comments made by a popular politician in Austria.

In fact, these two routes out of the EU are an important part of how EU legislation works. EU directives are designed, and member countries are under no obligation to implement European legislation, except that if they refuse for too long they may be invited to leave the club. It is not unlike being an employee of a company.

"Most of these non-federal characteristics will be abandoned if the proposed constitution is ratified."

This is false. There is, in fact, very little new material in the proposed EU constitution that is not simply a reorganised version of numerous existing treaties. The new material in the consitution doesn't erode member country sovereignty. Most of it pertains to Europe-wide power sharing in the new 25, soon 27 member EU. The jump from 15 to 25 required new power sharing, in particular reducing the influence of Britain, France and Germany.

The reasons for failure to ratify in France and the Netherlands were not a fear of loss of sovereignty and the immediate creation of a federal "superstate", but a number of concrete local problems which made the electorate want to embarrass and frustrate their governments, and, probably in many cases, a feeling that the EU isn't democratic enough. And probably many other reasons. But the constitution doesn't entail the creation of anything resembling a federation -- even if many of its writers would like to create one.

I will make edits based on my comments above after leaving some time for reaction here on the discussion page. Robertbyrne 05:15, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Trinidad & Tobago is not a federation[edit]

The Tobago House of Assembly is created by an Act of the National Parliament and may be abolished at will. Previously Tobago was a mere county . 19:19, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Important countries[edit]

I'm always skeptical when an article tries to list important countries. The trouble being, such ideas are clearly highly POV and trying to develop an NPOV list is IMHO impossible. In any case, I have update the list to include Malaysia as I regard it to be important (but then I am partly Malaysian) but notice there are still a few missing which seem rather bizarre.

For example Mexico and Russia have larger populations and GDPs then Australia and I think most people even Australians would agree Russia has a bigger influence on world affairs. Okay whether Russia is a federation is disputed but should we exclude it or list as an important federation but mention it is disputed? Pakistan and a few others (including Malaysia that I added) have larger populations then Australia but smaller GDPs.

One way to solve this problem would be to just list all contempary federations in the introduction rather then important ones. I count 22 so this might be a bit unwieldy. A second would be to abitarily define a criteria to be listed as important.E.g. GDP of over US$300 billion and/or population of over 40 million. Alternative e.g. top 30 of either population or GDP. Of course such criteria, as said, are abitary and will be disputed. A third would be to just leave the list as is and let people add or remove as they wish until and unless an edit war comes up about the inclusion/exclusion of some country. Nil Einne 14:33, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I am adding India to the list of important federations because India
  1. has one of the fastest growing economies.
  2. is a Major Power in South Asia.
  3. is a declared nuclear state.
  4. is a Major exporter of software and outsourcing services. --DIGIwarez 09:29, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
It is all of those things, but is it really a federation in the same sense in which (e.g.) Switzerland or Canada are federations? Aren't the Indian states basically the creation of the central government and therefore able to be abolished or totally rearranged by an act of the national parliament? That is not my understanding of a federal system, which suggests to me a constitutional arrangement in which the very existence of the states is guaranteed by the national constitution. Grant65 | Talk 12:22, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
You'll notice that the paragraph actually states "important federations" not "important countries". Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States are all key examples of specific types of federations. I'm not convinced that India is also such, and as Grant states above, whether India has true federalism is debatable.--cj | talk 14:04, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
If the intent of the short introductory list of "important federations" was to list key examples of specific types of federations (which I think is a very good idea), then I suggest we change the introduction back from "populous" to "important", but make it clear what is meant by saying "important examples of federations" or even "significant examples of federations". Thoughts?--thirty-seven 05:55, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I see that Cyberjunkie changed the introductory list along these lines. Looks good; thanks. --thirty-seven 05:54, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Some removed text[edit]

Some argue that the Russian Federation is not a federation in the strictest sense. It consists of a number of autonomous republics, krays or oblasts which are usually called 'regions' or 'subjects of federation'. According to the Constitution of 1993, 'republics' have some symbolic superiority over oblasts and krays. Constitution calls them 'states', they have their own 'constitutions', 'presidents' and may choose official language; in turn, oblasts an krays have only 'ustavs'(charters) and 'governors' while their official language must be Russian. All the krays and oblasts, and some republics too (for example, Karelia and Mordovia), are populated mostly by Russians; the rest of republics (for example, Tatarstan and Dagestan) have non-Russian majority of population. So, non-Russian regions have a little more autonomy than Russian ones (though maybe on symbolic level only), and this inequality has roots in Russian Civil War of 1918-20 where most of ethnic minorities of former Russian Empire acted as allies of triumphant Bolsheviks while Russian nationalists supported White movement.

I've removed the text above. It's informative but was in a section on "Federations and other forms of state". Russia is only mentioned there as a discussion of whether or not it's a true federation. It's not appropriate to give general information about the Russian federal system (or about any other specific federation because there are too many). This information would be better added to Subdivisions of Russia. Iota 16:02, 28 April 2006 (UTC)


Why is the first occurrence of federalism in the 1st para in bold and unlinked, as though this is the article on federalism, rather than being an unbolded link to federalism? Nurg 00:24, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

The full sentence reads: "The form of government or constitutional structure found in a federation is known as federalism." There seem to be two separate meanings of federalism, one is a "form of government or constitutional structure". That sense of federalism is covered by this article. The other is federalism as a political philosophy, as in liberalism, socialism, etc. That is the sense more or less currently covered by the federalism article, although that article is currently a bit of a mess and doesn't seem entirely sure of what it's supposed to be about (when I get time I'd like to begin working with others to sort that out). So the federalism article is currently linked as a main article from the "Federalism as a political philosophy" section in this article. But to bold link federalism in the sentence from the intro above would wrongly give the impression that it is a second article about entirely the same topic as this one. Iota 21:26, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

More removed text[edit]

Some time ago I removed a few passages from the text and tried to give an explanation in the edit history. They've now been restored so, before I take them out again, I think I better give a full explanation of my reasoning here. If my reasoning is faulty then lets discuss the matter further. First of all is this:

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is made up of three constituents, namely, the Netherlands (in Europe), Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are each represented in the cabinet council of the kingdom by a minister plenipotentiary.

This was added to a section called "Federations and other forms of state". The purpose of the section is to explain the difference between federal countries and other kinds of countries. So unitary states, confederations and empires are discussed. However there are also some examples that are difficult to categorise, including modern Russia, the USSR and the EU. For this reason these cases are each given a special section. "Federations and other forms of state" is not the place to include general information on various federations. In fact there are so many federations that I don't think it's appropriate to include general information about any individual federation unless to illustrate special point. But anyway there is no dispute (as far as I'm aware) as to whether or not the Netherlands is a federation so the place for this information is definitely not "Federations and other forms of state".

Some unitary states have devolved powers given to certain, or all, regions. For example, the United Kingdom has devolved limited power to four different regions (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Greater London), creating representative bodies with varying degrees of devolved power. However, subject to certain exceptions, all power is vested in Parliament, which could abolish or alter the powers given to the devolved authorities. For instance, the Scottish Parliament was established by Parliament, and it can be changed or abolished by Parliament with or without the authority of the Scottish Parliament itself.
Substantial power is granted to the overseas territories and the crown dependencies of the United Kingdom, with varying degrees. Power in overseas territories is either held by appointed governors, or cabinets (headed by chief ministers or equivalence) designated by elected legislatures.
There are two territories of Denmark granted with home rule, which governments have substantial power to their own affairs. Constitutionally, the power vest in the special administrative regions of the People's Republic is granted from the Central People's Government, through decision by the National People's Congress. Special administrative regions are not constitutionally stated to be administrative divisions. It is also not stated that special administrative regions are incorporated territories. In practice, the present two sepcial admininistrative regions are inalienable part[s], as prescribed by the constitutional documents, the basic laws. They are granted with wide range of power, including entry to international organisations, international treaties, extradition, final adjudication, etc., except national defence and diplomatic relations. The rest of the state is unitary.

The passage above was added to "List of unitary states with devolution". The article already has a section on "unitary states" which is the right place for this kind of information. This section is just a list. Otherwise there'll be duplication. It seemed to me when I removed this passage that everything in it either duplicated information already in the "unitary states" section or gave general information about the structures found in individual states. The problem with this general information is that there are many, many unitary states with devolution so it is better just only to give specific examples when illustrating a specific point. After all this is an article about federalism, not devolution. However it's possible this large passage contains some information that might usefully be merged into the "unitary states" section.

Iota 21:04, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Myanmar & Madagascar[edit]

These were just added to the list of federations but I'm temporarily removing them. Can anyone confirm that these are actually federations, according to the definition used in the introduction to this article? It's just I can't find any mention of federalism in either of the two country articles. Iota 21:10, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Defunct Federations[edit]

I'd recommend changing the title of this to "Notable Defunct Federations" as you haven't listed all of them, I'd guess. If French West Africa is included, where is French Equatorial Africa, also a federation? --Eddylyons 20:02, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd rather be in favour of trying to include all of them we can find and add {{dynamic list}} for now... ;) —Nightstallion (?) 00:54, 11 June 2006 (UTC)


Iraq, Sudan, and Saint Kitts and Nevis are constitutionally defined as federal states. —Sesel 22:24, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Mh. References? Feel free to add them yourself, though if you prefer it if I do it, I'd like some proof first... ;) —Nightstallion (?) 09:31, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I prefer not to mess around with tables, so I didn't add them myself.
  • Iraqi Constitution, Chapter I, Article I: "The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic." [1]
  • Sudanese Constitution, Part I, Article II: "Sudan is a federal republic, the supreme authority thereof is based on the federal system drawn by the Constitution as a national centre and States, and administered at the base by local government in accordance with the law, to ensure popular participation, consultation and mobilization, and to provide justice in the distribution of power and wealth." [2]
  • Kittitian Constitution, Chapter I, Article I, Section I: "The island of Saint Christopher (which is otherwise known as Saint Kitts) and the island of Nevis shall be a sovereign democratic federal state which may be styled Saint Christopher and Nevis or Saint Kitts and Nevis or the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis or the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis." [3]Sesel 10:23, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Hope it's correct this way; I didn't really know what to put as subdivisions for SK&N, so I simply put both islands (which are likely the two subjects of the federation) and parishes. Ah well, Nevis will become independent in the next decade, anyway... ;)Nightstallion (?) 22:09, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

States with devolution[edit]

I have removed the table of states with devolution to the apropriate page, namely devolution. It seems more logical to list them there than here. C mon 13:10, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Great Britain?[edit]

Isn't the UK of Great Britain a federation (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)? --HolyRomanEmperor 09:04, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

No. It is a unitary state with devolved entities.--cj | talk 16:30, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Brazilian municipalities[edit]

What about brazilian municipalities? The Constitution of 1988 includes municipalities as members of federation. There are 5.561 municipalities over all the country today. It's a unique three levelled model and I think the article must to mention about.

There's nothing "unique" about the Brazilian system. Our Constitution only mentions municipalities because our federation is more centralized than most. Brazil is a federation of the 26 States with a Federal District, just that - those are the Federating Units (UF). It is not a federation of 5500 municipalities, in any sense that might have. The States aren't federations of municipalities either. Brazilian Municipalities are just what local government entities are, anywhere in the world: local government entities. They're not represented per se in the federal or state parliaments; the fact that the Constitution provides for them raising some kinds of taxes from the inhabitants (e.g. on real estate) means only the Constitutional Assembly wanted to guarantee what in other countries happens by custom or ordinary law.
France is divided into regions, departments and communes, all of them mentioned in the Constitution. Does that make France a federation with these entities being its federating units? I don't think so. Because of all this, I've removed the reference to the municipalities from the Brazilian entry on the "List of federations" section. Amorim Parga (talk) 00:16, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
But apparently, contrary to the French situation, the federal or state governments have no jurisdiction over the lei orgânica of the municipalities ? The French parliament can change the rules by which the municipalities are governed. If the French parliament decides to take away the right of the municipalities to levy taxes, it can do so. Is this the case in Brazil, too ? --Luxem (talk) 11:54, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I see what you mean. I think that the Union and perhaps the States have reserve powers over municipalities, that is, they can intervene in case of severe wrongdoing at the municipal level. And, regarding your point on taxes, I see what you mean. I think Congress can indeed decide to remove municipalities' right to levy taxes, but whether that'd be done by means of an ordinary law or constitutional amendment is the essence of the point here.
Still, I wouldn't be surprised if other federations' Constitutions specified rights of minor administrative units, and that would still not make them count as "federating units". Amorim Parga (talk) 19:09, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Don't chartered municipalities in the United States have special rights that the states can't take away from them without their consent? That doesn't make the individual states federal states, nor does it make those municipalities federating units, I don't think. john k (talk) 06:40, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Where is Congo?[edit]

I thought the DRC was a federation since February 2006, am I wrong??

The new DRC constitution mentions neither federalism nor a unitary system. —Sesel 23:59, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
True, but is there a lot of unitary states that mentions their provinces at the top of their constitution?

Merge Federacy into this article?[edit]

There is currently an article titled Federacy which uses a rather specific definition of the word - it's an asymmetric federation, where the more autonomous parts have constitutionally-guaranteed autonomy. The term appears to have been defined that way by one particular political scientist, and is only used in the literature by people who cite his articles. The edit history of the article is full of discussions over whether some particular state meets the definition or not.

All in all, it appears that the concept of federacy is nothing more than a shorthand for a specific kind of federation, and that it would be better to merge the article into this one, so that comparisons between different sorts of federal arrangements may be more completely examined. I posted a merge tag over at Federacy, and only me and the original author of the article have made any comment in the talk page.

Could some of you take a look over there and tell me if it seems that a merge is worthwhile? Argyriou (talk) 02:07, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd keep them separate. One should not force similar terms to be synonyms. For example in another domain, Episcopalian is a form of Anglican faith, but they are different. Federacy is where there is an autonomy, making an inequality between the member states. Federation is, ideally, equal or fairly representative status. That's not the same. --Petercorless 11:41, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Keep separate - they are significantly distinct. I agree 100% with Petercorless' definition. Fanx 00:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Is venezuela a Federation in the year 2007?

Yes. —Sesel 17:57, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Hypothetical/suggested/fictional federations[edit]

I noticed that "Imperial Federation" was on the list as a defunct federation. It never actually got as far as becoming and actual federation, there was just an associated movement which attempted to create it. I would like to see a section on hypothetical/suggested federations, to include such a thing. The problem is that it would then be difficult to separate "serious" attempts from homourous ones, or even entirely fictitious ones, such as the Federation from Star Trek. Thoughts? samwaltz 14:16, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

One would expect for The Federation (Star Trek) to be mentioned here.Mátyás 13:24, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Could I list federations that are not independent countries on the list? --PaxEquilibrium 00:32, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

That's far too vague a question. How do you mean it? Like the National Wildlife Federation? The National Federation of Paralegal Associations? The American Federation of Teachers? (Feel free to run your own web search federation). samwaltz 00:35, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Saint Kitts and Nevis[edit]

Saint Kitts and Nevis is on both the federation list and the unitary states list. /Lokal_Profil 01:52, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

It is not a unitary state. It is a federation, as reflected in its official name, the "Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis". —Sesel 02:21, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
OK, saw that you removed it from the Unitary states list. Should Somalia be added to the Federation list since it is now removed from the unitary list? Or is it something different all together?
Also Angola, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Belize aren't on either list. /Lokal_Profil 11:43, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Somalia is a nominal federation (as I noted in the footnotes section of this article), but because of the lack of a government that controls most of its claimed territory, this is obviously not how it operates. Angola, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Belize are all unitary states. —Sesel 18:45, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I've updated the list and the maps. Is it a similar case with West Sahara and the Palestinian Territory, officially unitary but in reality no control? /Lokal_Profil 20:46, 14 September 2007 (UTC)


Switzerland is shown in the uppermost map as a federation and later as an example of a confederation. To my knowledge,it is a federation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

it's a federation, but it once was a confederatin and its still officially calld confederatin 11:30, 11 July 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Conflicting definitions[edit]

In the section 1.3.1 regarding Confederation, there is this quote:

"By definition, the difference between a confederation and a federation is that the membership of the member states in a confederation is voluntary, while the membership in a federation is not."

Yet, in the section 1.6 on the Soviet Union, there is this quote:

"Nonetheless, with the introduction of free, competitive elections in the final years of the Soviet Union, the Union's theoretically federal structure became a reality in practice; this occurred only for a brief interim period, as the elected governments of many republics demanded their right to secede and became independent states. Thus the Soviet Union's de jure federal structure played a key role in its dissolution."

This is inconsistent.

Besides, the voluntary/involuntary nature varies with admission and secession. For instance, in the US (which is a federation), states are admitted voluntarily into the Union; both the state wishes to join the Union and the Union must also be willing to admit the state. However, once a state has joined the Union, it may not leave it even if it wants to. This is what the US Civil War was about.

Is the distinction between federation and confederation significant enough to be stated in the Introduction? Regards, PeterEasthope (talk) 03:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Minor edits: Malaya[edit]

I have removed the Malayan Union from the list of defunct federations; the Malayan Union was a unitary state and, indeed, its lack of federalism was one of the main causes of the Malay backlash against it that ultimately led to the formation of the Malayan Federation. I have also clarified the dates of the Malaysian federation in the same list. Monsopiad (talk) 15:35, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Which are the Major Federating Units of Belgium?[edit]

(This discussion started at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Belgium)

For me the Regions. For the table: the Communities. Is it not a difficult question? For Flanders, it is evident that the Community is more important but not for Wallonia and Brussels. The whole wallonian and french-speaking press is stressing on the importance of the Regions and about a negociation with Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. Which solution for the table? José Fontaine (talk) 22:39, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Huh ?
What table ?
I don't think Wikipedia is a good place to "decide" these kind of things. We should simply note the facts (based on verified sources). --Luxem (talk) 14:00, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I am not a jurist and my English is bad, so I begg your pardon]. This table: Federation#List of federations. Robert Senel (University of Ghent), said (but I forgot where he wrote that), that the most important units are the Flemish Community, the Walloon Region anf Brussels (as a Region). In reality the Flemish Region (de facto) doesn't exist because it is almost the same thing as the Flemish Community (There is no Region's Parliament nor Region's Government in Flanders). The Communities have no taxation power de jure, but the Flemish Community well and de facto because it includes the Flemish Region. The representatives in the most important Parliaments (Flanders, Brussels,Wallonia) are not directly elected on the base of the Communities but on the base of the territories of the Regions. For the negociations which are beginning now, the Flemish parties are claiming a negociation with TWO components (Only the Flamings and the Francophones), but Wallonia and Brussels are claiming a negociation with THREE (Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders). And a compromise took place. I think there is a difference between the Flemish views and the Walloon (and Francophone) views... There is also an error here: Federalism#Federalism with two components : Belgium is a federal State with 'three components (following Senel or de facto) and (following the Constitution or de jure) six Federating Units (3 Communities, 3 regions). The two pages (Federalism and Federation), must be changed as far as Belgium is concerned. De jure, there is an absolute equality between the six Federating Units (3 C and 3 R). But there is yet an annoying thing, i.e. the Commission communautaire française in Brussels; it is also a (theorically or de jure) Federating Unit. I don't know what we must do but the pages must be changed. We may do perhaps as the fr:Wp does it and we may perhaps speak of six units. There is a contradiction between the de jure and the de facto because I agree with Senel: de facto, the most important units are Brussels, Wallonia and the Flemish community. I have all the sources in Charles-Etienne Lagasse Les nouvelles institutions politiques de la Belgique et de l'Europe Erasme Namur 2003 ISBN 2-87127-783-4. But I don't know what we must do in order to be clear...and in order to make clear that the most important units are Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders. It is possible to write that on the base of the "bon sens"... ? José Fontaine (talk) 16:27, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I made a change to the table. What do you think ? (I believe you are forgetting the German Community.) --Luxem (talk) 16:41, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
A very good idea!!! You are very pragmatic! I was not thinking of that, but I put the names of the units. What do you think? I must yet put the names of the communities... (also the german speaking). We do not the same as the others but it is perhaps necessary for Belgium (in order to make it clear)? Are you from Luxembourg? José Fontaine (talk) 17:04, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
- I would have put the German community with the major units (because they can exercise their own competences without interference from the other communities or regions), and the French community with the minor ones (seeing that in the French speaking part of the country the focus of power is with the regions).
- Maybe we should put the names in the footnotes. For the other countries, there are no names given either.
- I'm Flemish. Hope you don't mind... --Luxem (talk) 21:55, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
-I'm Walloon and I don't mind, of course! I have great friends in Flanders (for instance Ludo Abicht and some friends who unfortunetely died as Kas Deprez and Johan Anthierens, that was great with them and also with a young woman Denise Van Dame etc.), and I was guessed many times in Flanders by Flemish militants (I speak dutch, not really good but ik probeer om mijn Nederlands te verbeteren). At this moment, I am wondering if the best solution is not putting no units in the minor units because even the French Community can also exercise its own competences without interference (etc.). The point of view of Senelle is very just and interesting but it is de facto. It is right that the two Regions are very important at the Francophone side, but that doesn't eliminate the French Community (for me unfortunately... with some regionalists of Brussels i am again this community). So I put the German speaking of Belgium in the major units and nobody in the minor. It is correct following the Constitution. German speraking community is minor because it is small, but on the juridic plan, that donesn't matter, I think (Luxembourg is as important as Germany in the EU for instance). What do you think? Het best! José Fontaine (talk) 23:07, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
You write : "even the French Community can also exercise its own competences without interference". Is that absolutely right ? Would it be possible to have different coalitions in the Brussels and Walloon Regions on the one hand, and the French Community on the other ? I don't know if it's technically possible, but what if the Community had a PS-Ecolo coalition, and the regions an MR-CdH coalition ? (I know that at present this is politically impossible, CdH is closer to PS and Ecolo than to MR).--Luxem (talk) 08:21, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Theorically, it is possible. T think that de facto it never happened. Because the Parliament of the French Community includes 75 Wallonian representatives and 19 representatives (if I remember well) from Brussels. But following the Constitution the two Federating Units have the same power. I am hesitating to put the French Community in the Minor because there is a very difficult debate about this Community for ages in Wallonia and Brussels, and it is not finished. Some people think the Community is uniting Wallonia and Brussels, some other people are thinking the Community is a link netween two independant units (with some cooperation especially in the field of education). So... José Fontaine (talk) 09:00, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's just put "Communities and Regions" under the "Major..." column. If people are curious, they can always click on the Divisions of Belgium link. We could put the number of communities and regions, but then how would we describe the Flemish situation, where constitutionally you have both community and region, but in practice both are merged.
Or we could put it this way : "3 Communities, 2 (3) Regions". --Luxem (talk) 09:26, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Or : "2 Communities, 2 Regions, 1 combined Community and Region" --Luxem (talk) 09:31, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I think your last diff is the best. It is true that a clic on Divisions of Belgium can give the explanation of that. But the fact that the Flemisg Community and the Flemish region are merged is difficult to find (in the pages concerning these Federating Units. So is it not possible to put a footnote with the explanations? Something as  : 2 Communities (ref) (French and German) (ref), 2 Regions (ref) Brussels and Wallonia (ref), 1 merged Community and Region (ref) Flemish Region and Flemish Community with the name Flemish Community (ref). It is interesting because you have quickly the explanation of the complicated system of Belgium which is nevertheless comprehensible.I think also that we must change some sentences about Belgium as the issue Confederation because there are already now some aspects of a Confederation in Belgium (I put it on the page Confederation with good verifiable sources) and also change the section of Federalism wich is Federalism with two components because it is not true: Belgium has more than two components. Even if it there are two main (how sould I say...? people? communities? populations? ), in conflict. See you later, José Fontaine (talk) 09:14, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

South Africa?[edit]

Certainly the original Union of South Africa was a federation, wasn't it? It was a union of four separate British colonies in the same way as Australia and Canada were, wasn't it? I'm not sure when it would have stopped being one. 1961? 1994? john k (talk) 03:24, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Up until 1984 (sic) at least one province (Natal) had the right to secede - so SA could then potentially have been called a confederation. Following 1984 provincial legislatures had little power. However the current SA constitution (1996 but also the 1994 interim constitution) clearly delineates the powers of the provinces and the national government so in my mind SA is federal. These powers can only be altered by a supermajority (6 of 9) of the provinces agreeing to a change. I guess I need to study the Canadian constitution (which the South African apparently lends from heavily) to try and get a clear definition of the boundary of federalism. --Uxejn (talk) 13:39, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


The introduction claims that "Austria and its Bundesländer was a unitary state with administrative divisions that became federated". This seems to be wrong. It appears that only time when Austria was unitary was during the Third Reich. In fact, the Landtage of the Kronländer of Cisleithania had certain legislative competences, as stated at [4], although they needed approval by the Kaiser. Austria-Hungary is listed as a former federation on this page, but I assume this is meant to refer to Austro-Hungarian dualism. In fact, the comparison between German and Austrian federalism reverses the historical pedigree of the respective structure: While most of the German states where created in their current form after World War II, the Austrian ones (and the borders between them) typically go back many centuries, even before the time when they were acquired by the Habsburgs. Martg76 (talk) 22:07, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Wrong term!
It may indeed be irritating to say that Austria's provinces became federated, referring to the process of historic development.
But there's another factual point that is basically misleading: Austria is a unitary state, the legislative scope of its parts being reduced to details of organizing infrastructure, matters of building law, compulsory school management, organization of their regional share of the country's health care system and the likes - but all based on federal (frame) laws. And legal differences like those existing between federal states in the US, i.e. regarding civil law or criminal law, are unthinkable here: these are entirely federal matters. Even much of the subsidiary administration has to carry out what officially is named Mittelbare Bundesverwaltung, meaning oblique or indirect federal administration.
Thus, the term states is absolutely misleading. Its literal German synonym Staat here is always understood as a synonym for an entire country or nation - not just for a part of it, regardless how big it may be. Moreover, calling the nine parts of Austria "states" - its entire population having increased by almost 20% during the last decades, but still to no more than roughly 8.5 million - seems a little braggy.
We Austrians call these nine parts Bundesländer, like the article says correctly, but the - sometimes forgotten - correct translation should be federal provinces not states. By the way, this terminology refers as well to - though larger - Germany.
Think of the term from a reverse aspect: when the King of France Louis XIV declared L'etat c'est moi, did he rather mean I am the nation, or did he refer to only a share, like I'm just a province? So, once more: in Europe, state/Staat/L'etat equals the US-category country/nation, and the next level, similar to (federal) states in the USA, ought to be named - in varied forms - (federal) provinces. -- (talk) 10:08, 5 October 2009 (UTC), a born Viennese and long-term political activist
About my comment to this wrong conclusions see: Talk:States of Austria#Wrong term indeed!--Zoris Trömm (talk) 18:59, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Which shows not the least proof for your view and ignores the proven fact that the Austrian federal government officially uses the term federal provinces.

So you really think you know better what Austria's authorities define, and how, than they themselves (here and there, aso.)?

-- (talk) 12:19, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes i do, especially for the reasons i told you in the other discussion (why didn't you answer there by the way?). Playing with official websites is something that can't overrule constitutional sources. After all your arguments that attestet to your smattering have been blown away, you try to come up with some websites? But if you like that game, i can play it too: Vorarlberg, Tirol, Salzburg, The Federal President, The Constitutional Court, BKA, BKA ...--Zoris Trömm (talk) 12:42, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

So you put the quote from the homepage of Austria's mostly just representative head of state (with some competences for the extremely improbable case of a national political crisis) above that from the homepage of the head of the country's leading authoritative body, the federal chancellor - the latter source in your words being just some homepage, like I'd been quoting Bild, The Sun, or the New York Post. And you put the letter of some unknown and not necessarily term-codifying constitution text passages above generally understandable and confusion-avoiding everyday word usage. Were this a British discussion, then you'd probably put the Queen's word (quoting some medieval papers) above the British parliament's or government's or prime minister's terminology, just because it suits your Monk-ish approach of solely formal order better. Practical, general comprehensibility is not your concern - in this respect, you even ignore Wikipedia's fundamental mission.

You merely can tell the purpuseful term federal provinces is not the only one, but you still fail to prove the term wrong or at least its lesser importance. And you leave inconvenient objections like the Herbert Frahm example unanswered. In your world, the burden of proof is on everyone else, not on you.
-- (talk) 15:36, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Well since I've brought about twenty sources and you two, telling me that I want to pass on the burden of proof to you is the only way for you to get out of here. I've never said, that the term "province" isn't used, i just said that it is not the correct term for the reasons i showed you. Nearly everything you said turned out to be wrong:
  • You alleged that all legal authority of the Länder is based on federal framework legislation. I proofed that that’s not true.
  • You said that it was an official term, although the translation of the Austrian Constitution, which is provided by the BKA does not use it, although the Federal President and the Länder use the term "state" instead.
  • You even said that Vorarlberg was the smallest state of Austria, which is wrong in both ways you could see it (Vienna has a smaller area, Burgenland less population).
What have you done to prove your opinion? Two links from the Austrian government and that’s it. I took the quotes out of context? Could you explain that to me? It's only about whether the term is used or not, how could I take anything out of context? You seem to like incomplete comparisons. Willy Brandt was renamed that way, the Austrian states were not. Let’s say that Willy Brandt were not official but the more common name, for sure it would be better to use that name than. You think that a federal province is the more common name? Then you should compare those two links: [5] [6] There are about 12.000 matches for the term that you prefer and 90.000 for mine. So what? If you want to change the article’s name, do so. We'll see if that stays long.--Zoris Trömm (talk) 16:00, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Answer: see Talk:States_of_Austria, containing official usage proof of the term federal provinces

Belgium is not a federation[edit]

Belgium is a monarchy, and a monarchy can't be a federation by definition (with some exceptions such as UAE, Malaysia and other similar states with sub-national monarchies) since sovereignity is ultimately vested into the monarch. Its regions have a high degree of autonomy, and the country could be descrived as a de-facto federation. Nevertheless it is constitutionally a unitary state.

If monarchies can't be federal "by definition" come come the UAE is a federation? In constitutional monarchies, true sovereignty (if such a thing exists) resides in the constitution (written or unwritten). Belgium's written Constitution creates a federation. It is a federation, both de jure and de facto. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 22:58, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Constitution of Belgium:
Article. 1: Belgium is a federal State composed of Communities and Regions.
Article. 33: All powers emanate from the Nation. These powers are exercised in the manner laid down by the Constitution.
--Zoris Trömm (talk) 19:19, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


Why doesn't the list include Nepal. Is the country not federal anymore? Night w (talk) 09:39, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

When has Nepal ever been a federation?--Zoris Trömm (talk) 15:34, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
As I understand it, since 2008, which is why it's listed under, for example, federal republic. At the very least, this (Federation) article is inconsistent, listing it, but not on the list itself. Madagascar is also on the "federal republic" list but absent here. Again, for internal consistency, these issues should be resolved. Calbaer (talk) 16:56, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Madagascar regions were abolished in 2007. But we still have to update the table with Nepal. Gvogas (talk) 15:53, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

History of federations?[edit]

I'm interested in the history of federations, especially that of the development of federations in the Americas prior to European conquest. Is that not relevant to "federation"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Other autonomous system[edit]

Hey. I contributed for the article with a section explaining the few diferences of federations and other autonomous system (devolution, federacy, free association), but they were reverted because they are "better covered eslewhere". I agree, but I just think that being better covered elsewhere doesn't mean the information is not relevant for that article. It was a good explanation of why systems that can be seen as federations are not quite so. What do you think? Gvogas (talk) 14:49, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Improper description of the origin of the German federalism[edit]

"The purpose can be the will to solve mutual problems or to provide for mutual defense, or to create a nation state for an ethnicity spread over several states. The former was the case with the United States and Switzerland, the latter with Germany" (in the section "Federations and other forms of state"). The political system of Germany has been determined by the Allies after WWII. The Allies founded the (federal) states in Germany. These states were part of the administrative division of the allied occupation zones, they haven't been created to form the base of a nation state for an ethnicity (depending on definition, the term "Ethnic German" also includes other German-speaking countries, especially concerning the German Empire: [[7]]. The foundation of a federation in Germany is based on an allied proposal, only the details have been determined by local politicans; the German constitution had to be approved by the allies. The only state based on the goal of creating a nation state was the German Empire (1871-1918), but many German-speaking states finally remained outside the empire, developed their own national consciousness and do not consider themselves "German" anymore. (Luxembourg, the German-speaking part of Belgium, Lichtenstein and large parts of Austria had been members of the Holy Roman Empire and the German Confederation for many centuries. After WWI and WWII , people living there disassociated themselves from neighbouring Germany as much as possible, because the global reputation of Germany - including the language - had reached an extremely low level.)--Johnny2323 (talk) 09:10, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Notably, the states of Germany retain the right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange for the Kingdom of Bavaria's agreement to join the German Empire in 1871.(In the section <<Division of Powers>>). This sentence is misleading, because the right to act on an internetional level is based on the German constitution (Basic Law); the Basic Law has been adopted by the German states in 1949, but Bavaria was even opposed to it and didn't ratify it (They finally had to adopt it, because the majority of the German states had done so). The states do not retain the right because it had been granted to the states of southern Germany (and Prussia) in the 19th century. In 1919, the additional rights of the southern German states had been abolished by the government of the Weimar Republic.Johnny2323 (talk) 05:57, 19 February 2011 (UTC)


The powers the Spanish Autonomous Communities are listed in the country's Constitution, which unlike the British constitution, is entrenched and cannot be easily modified. Furthermore, the Constitution states that the process that must be followed in order to change a 'Statute of Autonomy', shall be set up in the Autonomous Community's Statute of Autonomy.

All the Statutes of Autonomy state that the approval of the regional parliament (in addition the the national parliament) is required in order to modify the Statute. So in practice, it is as hard to take away power from the communities than in all federations but the US (which probably has the most difficult to modify constitution), so the Autonomous Communities' powers cannot be unilaterally revoked by the central government/parliament and the communities don't exist at the central government's pleasure. And the fact that regional power is asymmetric does not determine whether if Spain is a federation or not, as there are many asymmetrical federations/federacies, such as Canada or Russian.

What make Spain a unitary state and not a federation is that an Autonomous community cannot unilaterally change its Statute of Autonomy, it always requires the natinal parliament's final approval. This is not the case in federations where subunits can freely change their constitutions (with few exceptions such as federal territories) as long as they are consistent with the Federal constitution.

I'm not saying Spain is a federation, I am just saying the reasons why it is not are quite different from the ones stated in the article. --Adrián D. V. M. 11:03, 8 April 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adrián V.M. (talkcontribs)


Somalia has never been a functioning federation; since its unitary state government collapsed in 1992, no government (and in particular no federation) has controlled a significant fraction of the country. The TFG in particular has never even controlled enough territory to subdivide into sovereign entities as required by the definition of a federation. So I'm not sure why it's listed in the section on failed/former federations at the end. Miraculouschaos (talk) 20:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Germany's "länder"[edit]

In the introduction, there is a rather unnecessary and dumb try of illustrating and giving an example for the content of this article ("Germany was and is, neighbour Austria was not but became, other neighbour France never was and is not a federation, etc."). That is a bit like stating in an article about bananas that "they belong to the fruits and are yellow, while other fruits are not yellow, like strawberrys (which are red) and blueberrys (which are blue)". Another, more important thing is, that in case the Germany-Austria-France-example will be kept here, there still is in error within it: it is referred to Austria's first level subdivisions as "bundesländer", and to Germany ones as "länder" - well that's just nothing but wrong, because in both Germany and Austria they are both the same called "bundesländer", it's the very same term. I could imagine that the author of the named example got in trouble because of the want to compare Germany and Austria but discovering that the subdisvisions of both countries are called the same so that that would be irritating for readers, so maybe due to this the German "bundesländer" were shortened to "länder", while the Austrian's just was not - what is just for random and not encyclopedic, because as a reader who would not have not known, I would have thought that the subdivisions in Germany and Austria are called different - what is not the case, as said. Of course in Germany sometimes, in talks about inner-German-topics and when referring to the "bundesländer", they sometimes are shortened to "länder" (as it is in Austria, too), but this is clearly a " 'länder' ", not a real term, also because of the fact, that "länder" in German in 99% of all cases are meaning and referring to other states, countries in the world, because that's what the term stands for very mainly - as it is in Austria, too. So in the example the Germany's and Austria's subdivisions must both be called "bundesländer" ("...Germany's bundesländer and Austria's bundesländer...") - I could try to clearify this in the artcle... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

While I understand your objections, I jad to revert it as the English was very confusing. Let's try to work out a better statement here first. - BilCat (talk) 12:42, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Then why on Earth does the German Basic law only ever use Länder, never Bundesländer? In fact the Wikipedia article on länder says that bundesländer is the official term in austria and länder is in Germany. (talk) 20:23, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this stuff about "länder" and "bundesländer" is obscure to say the least and certainly inappropriate in an introduction, where clarity is of the essence. It should go, or at least be transferred much further down the article--Lubiesque (talk) 00:42, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Outdated image[edit]

The image is outdated, as South Sudan is independent from Sudan. -- (talk) 08:26, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

South Africa: meaning?[edit]

This clause makes no sense: "...if the province government does not want do it rules additionally the national constitution." Can someone please clarify it? Caeruleancentaur (talk) 18:32, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Defunct federations: location of Confederate States of America in list[edit]

Most of the list is in alphabetic order by its geographical designation (e.g. C for Federal Republic of Cameroon, D for Federated Dutch Republic). Confederate States of America, however, is sorted as starting with 'Con' instead of 'Ame', its first geographical designation. I don't really expect this to be controversial but as it is about politics I still wanted to mention it here while correcting it. PinkShinyRose (talk) 23:42, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Russia's section in "de-facto federation"[edit]

Russia is not a merely "de-facto federations" (this statement meant to imply that oficially it is unitary?), but it is a full federation (per art. 1, art. 5 of the Constitution). Yes, it is slightly more centralised, than, for example, United States, but Russia is still a federation. Also, since 2012 heads of federal subjects again became directly-elected. Seryo93 (talk) 10:36, 22 November 2012 (UTC)


The map in the lead is outdated. It doesn't display South Sudan. --Mika1h (talk) 22:35, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Separate lists for federal "republics" and federal "monarchies"[edit]

I can't believe federal states are seperately listed here under Federal Republics and Federal Monarchies.

Whether a country is a "republic" or a "monarchy" has absolutely nothing to do with its status as a federation. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and other states switched from being monarchies to republics and this had no bearing on their status as federations. Any modification to their federal status was dealt with in separate legislation.

Can you imagine the membership of the European Union or the United Nations or the OAS or ASEAN being listed under two separate republic and monarchy lists!

So why this meaningless separate isting here?

I propose that the two lists be fused into one list under the heading Federal States.--Lubiesque (talk) 19:13, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Done, under Federal governments | Contemporary, with "Main article"(s) hatnote on section.
Since the distinction seems to be of some interest, I added a column "Type*", with a centered "R" or "M" to keep it narrow, and a linked footnote below the table:
As defined and listed in the respective articles:
R: Federal republic
M: Federal monarchy
I also added a hidden note (<!-- -->) to the respective tables of those articles, saying
I hope that does it! To discuss this, please {{Ping}} me. --Thnidu (talk) 15:59, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Confederate & Unitary state[edit]

a minor issue, but as it stands a confederate state is listed as a subsection of unitary state. I don't know enough politics to know if this is correct, but it seems they should be separate Pjbeierle (talk) 16:38, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Federating units?[edit]

I understand that the United States is federated by "50 states", but while we do have a Federal District and territories, those, I think, are not federating units, major or otherwise. Are those not equivalent to subdivisions of the central government (acting as a unitary state)? Yes, each territory and the federal district has home rule, but I believe they exist at the suffrance of the federal government, and they have no voice in the federal government. So my proposal is to remove those from the list, or perhaps (if appropriate) rename that column as "organized subdivisions" or some such. D. F. Schmidt (talk) 21:42, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Is Bosnia a federation?[edit]

Hello. I argue with one user in russian wikipedia about Bosnia and Herzegovina. He say it is federal state, because the most of sources confirm this (Great Russian Encyclopedia, for example). I use primary source (Dayton Agreement) as argument for unitary bosnian state. You know there are not "federal", "federation", "federate" and other terms in this agreement for total Bosnia and Herzagovina. Term of "federation" used for Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina only. There are not such terms in Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina too. Also I would like to pay attention that there are not institutes of the power in Bosnia in which name to contain the term "federal". There are not any "Federal agency", "Federal service", "Federal court" and other.

And besides, Bosnia doesn't even correspond to an elementary sign of a federal state - existence of the Upper House of parliament consisting of representatives of territorial subjects of the federation. Instead, three peoples in the Upper House are equally presented, they are Serbians, Muslims ("Bosniaks") and Croats. Their deputies aren't even representatives of Entities (then it would be possible to speak about asymmetric federation), they are representatives of different ethnic groups. There is no real upper house of parliament as it has to be in a federal state.

Nevertheless some sources contain information that Bosnia is the unitary state. I would like to pay attention to opinion of Richard Holbrooke who is one of authors of the Dayton agreement. In particular, this book (p. 18) contains the reference to Holbrooke's book. --Nicolay Sidorov (talk) 14:58, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

The list of long-form titles[edit]

The list of long-form titles seems slightly misconceived to me, though I may be making a bigger deal out of it than it's worth. In order for the presence of this list in this article to make sense, it ought to relate to the article's topic. So I would expect its point to be that "here are the different ways in which these federations indicate in their full titles that they are compositions of smaller entities". Otherwise, it's as gratuitous having this section as it would be to have a list grouping the countries by their official national birds.

That being the case:

  • The long form titles of Argentina, Austria, India, Iraq, South Africa, Sudan, and South Sudan give no indication of their federal nature, "republic" not connoting a composition of smaller entities any more than it does in "Italian Republic" or "Republic of Sierra Leone". From that perspective, they should be in the "None" section.
  • The same goes for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Kingdom of Belgium.
  • Germany, Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Nepal should be under "Federal", as neither "Democratic" nor "Republic" is pertinent to designating those countries' federal natures.
  • Likewise, for Brazil we should show only "Federative" as the pertinent part of its full title.
  • The allocation of countries between the Others sublist and the items above it isn't clear to me. If it's meant to separate groups of countries sharing an approach from the one-offs, then "Federal Democratic Republic" and "United States" ought to be moved out of the Other sublist. But I really see no reason for making the distinction at all.

I propose:

The federal nature of the following countries is reflected in their long form titles in a variety of ways:
The long form titles of the following federations do not reflect their federal nature:

The title of the section could be changed to "Federal status reflected in long form titles".

I suppose we could also discuss the distinction between the countries that are wikilinked in this listing and those that aren't. Largoplazo (talk) 15:31, 21 May 2016 (UTC)