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Field Listing :: Government type
This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.):
Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition.
Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority.
Authoritarian - a form of government in which state authority is imposed onto many aspects of citizens' lives.
Commonwealth - a nation, state, or other political entity founded on law and united by a compact of the people for the common good.
Communist - a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people (i.e., a classless society).
Confederacy (Confederation) - a union by compact or treaty between states, provinces, or territories, that creates a central government with limited powers; the constituent entities retain supreme authority over all matters except those delegated to the central government.
Constitutional - a government by or operating under an authoritative document (constitution) that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature, functions, and limits of that government.
Constitutional democracy - a form of government in which the sovereign power of the people is spelled out in a governing constitution.
Constitutional monarchy - a system of government in which a monarch is guided by a constitution whereby his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities are spelled out in written law or by custom.
Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed.
Democratic republic - a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small clique wield absolute power (not restricted by a constitution or laws).
Ecclesiastical - a government administrated by a church.
Emirate - similar to a monarchy or sultanate, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of an emir (the ruler of a Muslim state); the emir may be an absolute overlord or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.
Federal (Federation) - a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided - usually by means of a constitution - between a central authority and a number of constituent regions (states, colonies, or provinces) so that each region retains some management of its internal affairs; differs from a confederacy in that the central government exerts influence directly upon both individuals as well as upon the regional units.
Federal republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government; ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives.
Islamic republic - a particular form of government adopted by some Muslim states; although such a state is, in theory, a theocracy, it remains a republic, but its laws are required to be compatible with the laws of Islam.
Maoism - the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a communist state are to keep in touch with the people.
Marxism - the political, economic, and social principles espoused by 19th century economist Karl Marx; he viewed the struggle of workers as a progression of historical forces that would proceed from a class struggle of the proletariat (workers) exploited by capitalists (business owners), to a socialist"dictatorship of the proletariat," to, finally, a classless society - Communism.
Marxism-Leninism - an expanded form of communism developed by Lenin from doctrines of Karl Marx; Lenin saw imperialism as the final stage of capitalism and shifted the focus of workers' struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries.
Monarchy - a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right; the monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign - such as a king, queen, or prince - with constitutionally limited authority.
Oligarchy - a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals whose authority generally is based on wealth or power.
Parliamentary democracy - a political system in which the legislature (parliament) selects the government - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet ministers - according to party strength as expressed in elections; by this system, the government acquires a dual responsibility: to the people as well as to the parliament.
Parliamentary government (Cabinet-Parliamentary government) - a government in which members of an executive branch (the cabinet and its leader - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor) are nominated to their positions by a legislature or parliament, and are directly responsible to it; this type of government can be dissolved at will by the parliament (legislature) by means of a no confidence vote or the leader of the cabinet may dissolve the parliament if it can no longer function.
Parliamentary monarchy - a state headed by a monarch who is not actively involved in policy formation or implementation (i.e., the exercise of sovereign powers by a monarch in a ceremonial capacity); true governmental leadership is carried out by a cabinet and its head - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor - who are drawn from a legislature (parliament).
Presidential - a system of government where the executive branch exists separately from a legislature (to which it is generally not accountable).
Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies (representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation.
Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.
Sultanate - similar to a monarchy, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of a sultan (the head of a Muslim state); the sultan may be an absolute ruler or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.
Theocracy - a form of government in which a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, but the Deity's laws are interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities (bishops, mullahs, etc.); a government subject to religious authority.
Totalitarian - a government that seeks to subordinate the individual to the state by controlling not only all political and economic matters, but also the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population.
By Country Listing of the values for the Government type field
Country Government type
Afghanistan
presidential Islamic republic
Albania
parliamentary republic
Algeria
presidential republic
American Samoa
presidential democracy; a self-governing territory of the US
Andorra
parliamentary democracy (since March 1993) that retains its chiefs of state in the form of a co-principality; the two princes are the President of France and Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, Spain, who delegate responsibility to other officials
Angola
presidential republic
Anguilla
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Antarctica

Antarctic Treaty Summary - the Antarctic region is governed by a system known as the Antarctic Treaty System; the system includes: 1. the Antarctic Treaty, signed on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961, which establishes the legal framework for the management of Antarctica, 2. Recommendations and Measures adopted at meetings of Antarctic Treaty countries, 3. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972), 4. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980), and 5. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1991); the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting was held 22 May-1 June 2017 in Beijing, China; at these annual meetings, decisions are made by consensus (not by vote) of all consultative member nations; by January 2016, there were 53 treaty member nations: 29 consultative and 24 non-consultative; consultative (decision-making) members include the seven nations that claim portions of Antarctica as national territory (some claims overlap) and 46 non-claimant nations; the US and Russia have reserved the right to make claims; the US does not recognize the claims of others;

Antarctica is administered through meetings of the consultative member nations; decisions from these meetings are carried out by these member nations (with respect to their own nationals and operations) in accordance with their own national laws; the years in parentheses indicate when a consultative member-nation acceded to the Treaty and when it was accepted as a consultative member, while no date indicates the country was an original 1959 treaty signatory; claimant nations are - Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, NZ, Norway, and the UK; nonclaimant consultative nations are - Belgium, Brazil (1975/1983), Bulgaria (1978/1998), China (1983/1985), Czech Republic (1962/2017), Ecuador (1987/1990), Finland (1984/1989), Germany (1979/1981), India (1983/1983), Italy (1981/1987), Japan, South Korea (1986/1989), Netherlands (1967/1990), Peru (1981/1989), Poland (1961/1977), Russia, South Africa, Spain (1982/1988), Sweden (1984/1988), Ukraine (1992/2004), Uruguay (1980/1985), and the US; non-consultative members, with year of accession in parentheses, are - Austria (1987), Belarus (2006), Canada (1988), Colombia (1989), Cuba (1984), Denmark (1965), Estonia (2001), Greece (1987), Guatemala (1991), Hungary (1984), Iceland (2015), Kazakhstan (2015), North Korea (1987), Malaysia (2011), Monaco (2008), Mongolia (2015), Pakistan (2012), Papua New Guinea (1981), Portugal (2010), Romania (1971), Slovakia (1962/1993), Switzerland (1990), Turkey (1996), and Venezuela (1999); note - Czechoslovakia acceded to the Treaty in 1962 and separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993;

Article 1 - area to be used for peaceful purposes only; military activity, such as weapons testing, is prohibited, but military personnel and equipment may be used for scientific research or any other peaceful purpose;Article 2 - freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation shall continue;Article 3 - free exchange of information and personnel, cooperation with the UN and other international agencies;Article 4 - does not recognize, dispute, or establish territorial claims and no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force;Article 5 - prohibits nuclear explosions or disposal of radioactive wastes;Article 6 - includes under the treaty all land and ice shelves south of 60 degrees 00 minutes south and reserves high seas rights;

Article 7 - treaty-state observers have free access, including aerial observation, to any area and may inspect all stations, installations, and equipment; advance notice of all expeditions and of the introduction of military personnel must be given;Article 8 - allows for jurisdiction over observers and scientists by their own states;Article 9 - frequent consultative meetings take place among member nations;Article 10 - treaty states will discourage activities by any country in Antarctica that are contrary to the treaty;Article 11 - disputes to be settled peacefully by the parties concerned or, ultimately, by the ICJ;Articles 12, 13, 14 - deal with upholding, interpreting, and amending the treaty among involved nations;

other agreements - some 200 recommendations adopted at treaty consultative meetings and ratified by governments; a mineral resources agreement was signed in 1988 but remains unratified; the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed 4 October 1991 and entered into force 14 January 1998; this agreement provides for the protection of the Antarctic environment through six specific annexes: 1) environmental impact assessment, 2) conservation of Antarctic fauna and flora, 3) waste disposal and waste management, 4) prevention of marine pollution, 5) area protection and management and 6) liability arising from environmental emergencies; it prohibits all activities relating to mineral resources except scientific research; a permanent Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was established in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Antigua and Barbuda
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Argentina
presidential republic
Armenia
parliamentary democracy; note - constitutional changes adopted in December 2015 transformed the government to a parliamentary system
Aruba
parliamentary democracy (Legislature); part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Australia
parliamentary democracy (Federal Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Austria
federal parliamentary republic
Azerbaijan
presidential republic
Bahamas, The
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Bahrain
constitutional monarchy
Bangladesh
parliamentary republic
Barbados
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Belarus
presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Belgium
federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Belize
parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Benin
presidential republic
Bermuda
parliamentary democracy (Parliament); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Bhutan
constitutional monarchy
Bolivia
presidential republic
Bosnia and Herzegovina
parliamentary republic
Botswana
parliamentary republic
Brazil
federal presidential republic
British Virgin Islands
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Brunei
absolute monarchy or sultanate
Bulgaria
parliamentary republic
Burkina Faso
presidential republic
Burma
parliamentary republic
Burundi
presidential republic
Cabo Verde
parliamentary republic
Cambodia
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Cameroon
presidential republic
Canada
federal parliamentary democracy (Parliament of Canada) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm; federal and state authorities and responsibilities regulated in constitution
Cayman Islands
parliamentary democracy (Legislative Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Central African Republic
presidential republic
Chad
presidential republic
Chile
presidential republic
China
communist party-led state
Christmas Island
non-self-governing overseas territory of Australia
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
non-self-governing overseas territory of Australia
Colombia
presidential republic
Comoros
federal presidential republic
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
semi-presidential republic
Congo, Republic of the
presidential republic
Cook Islands
self-governing parliamentary democracy (Parliament of the Cook Islands) in free association with New Zealand
Costa Rica
presidential republic
Cote d'Ivoire
presidential republic
Croatia
parliamentary republic
Cuba
communist state
Curacao

parliamentary democracy

Cyprus
Republic of Cyprus - presidential democracy; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (self-declared) - semi-presidential democracy

note: a separation of the two main ethnic communities inhabiting the island began following the outbreak of communal strife in 1963; this separation was further solidified when a Greek military-junta-supported coup attempt prompted the Turkish intervention in July 1974 that gave the Turkish Cypriots de facto control in the north; Greek Cypriots control the only internationally recognized government on the island; on 15 November 1983, then Turkish Cypriot "President" Rauf DENKTAS declared independence and the formation of a "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), which is recognized only by Turkey

Czechia
parliamentary republic
Denmark
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Djibouti
semi-presidential republic
Dominica
parliamentary republic
Dominican Republic
presidential republic
Ecuador
presidential republic
Egypt
presidential republic
El Salvador
presidential republic
Equatorial Guinea
presidential republic
Eritrea
presidential republic
Estonia
parliamentary republic
Eswatini
constitutional monarchy
Ethiopia
federal parliamentary republic
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
parliamentary democracy (Legislative Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Faroe Islands
parliamentary democracy (Faroese Parliament); part of the Kingdom of Denmark
Fiji
parliamentary republic
Finland
parliamentary republic
France
semi-presidential republic
French Polynesia
parliamentary democracy (Assembly of French Polynesia); an overseas collectivity of France
Gabon
presidential republic
Gambia, The
presidential republic
Georgia
semi-presidential republic
Germany
federal parliamentary republic
Ghana
presidential republic
Gibraltar
parliamentary democracy (Parliament); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Greece
parliamentary republic
Greenland
parliamentary democracy (Parliament of Greenland or Inatsisartut)
Grenada
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Guam
presidential democracy; a self-governing unincorporated territory of the US
Guatemala
presidential republic
Guernsey
parliamentary democracy (States of Deliberation); a Crown dependency of the UK
Guinea
presidential republic
Guinea-Bissau
semi-presidential republic
Guyana
parliamentary republic
Haiti
semi-presidential republic
Holy See (Vatican City)
ecclesiastical elective monarchy; self-described as an "absolute monarchy"
Honduras
presidential republic
Hong Kong
presidential limited democracy; a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
Hungary
parliamentary republic
Iceland
parliamentary republic
India
federal parliamentary republic
Indonesia
presidential republic
Iran
theocratic republic
Iraq
federal parliamentary republic
Ireland
parliamentary republic
Isle of Man
parliamentary democracy (Tynwald); a Crown dependency of the UK
Israel
parliamentary democracy
Italy
parliamentary republic
Jamaica
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Japan
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Jersey
parliamentary democracy (Assembly of the States of Jersey); a Crown dependency of the UK
Jordan
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Kazakhstan
presidential republic
Kenya
presidential republic
Kiribati
presidential republic
Korea, North
single-party state; official state ideology of "Juche" or "national self-reliance
Korea, South
presidential republic
Kosovo
parliamentary republic
Kuwait
constitutional monarchy (emirate)
Kyrgyzstan
parliamentary republic
Laos
communist state
Latvia
parliamentary republic
Lebanon
parliamentary republic
Lesotho
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Liberia
presidential republic
Libya
in transition
Liechtenstein
constitutional monarchy
Lithuania
semi-presidential republic
Luxembourg
constitutional monarchy
Macau
presidential limited democracy; a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
Macedonia
parliamentary republic
Madagascar
semi-presidential republic
Malawi
presidential republic
Malaysia
federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

note: all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka (Malacca) and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government; powers of state governments are limited by federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls)

Maldives
presidential republic
Mali
semi-presidential republic
Malta
parliamentary republic
Marshall Islands
presidential republic in free association with the US
Mauritania
presidential republic
Mauritius
parliamentary republic
Mexico
federal presidential republic
Micronesia, Federated States of
federal republic in free association with the US
Moldova
parliamentary republic
Monaco
constitutional monarchy
Mongolia
semi-presidential republic
Montenegro
parliamentary republic
Montserrat
parliamentary democracy (Legislative Council); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Morocco
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Mozambique
presidential republic
Namibia
presidential republic
Nauru
parliamentary republic
Nepal
federal parliamentary republic
Netherlands
parliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
New Caledonia
parliamentary democracy (Territorial Congress); an overseas collectivity of France
New Zealand
parliamentary democracy (New Zealand Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Nicaragua
presidential republic
Niger
semi-presidential republic
Nigeria
federal presidential republic
Niue
self-governing parliamentary democracy (Fouo Ekepule) in free association with New Zealand
Norfolk Island
non-self-governing overseas territory of Australia; note - the Norfolk Island Regional Council, which began operations 1 July 2016, is responsible for planning and managing a variety of public services, including those funded by the Government of Australia
Northern Mariana Islands
presidential democracy; a commonwealth in political union with the US
Norway
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Oman
absolute monarchy
Pakistan
federal parliamentary republic
Palau
presidential republic in free association with the US
Panama
presidential republic
Papua New Guinea
parliamentary democracy (National Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Paraguay
presidential republic
Peru
presidential republic
Philippines
presidential republic
Pitcairn Islands
parliamentary democracy (Island Council); overseas territory of the UK
Poland
parliamentary republic
Portugal
semi-presidential republic
Puerto Rico
presidential democracy; a self-governing commonwealth in political association with the US
Qatar
absolute monarchy
Romania
semi-presidential republic
Russia
semi-presidential federation
Rwanda
presidential republic
Saint Barthelemy
parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha
parliamentary democracy (Legislative Council); limited self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Saint Kitts and Nevis
federal parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Saint Lucia
parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Saint Martin
parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Samoa
parliamentary republic
San Marino
parliamentary republic
Sao Tome and Principe
semi-presidential republic
Saudi Arabia
absolute monarchy
Senegal
presidential republic
Serbia
parliamentary republic
Seychelles
presidential republic
Sierra Leone
presidential republic
Singapore
parliamentary republic
Sint Maarten

parliamentary democracy (Estates of Sint Maarten) under a constitutional monarchy

Slovakia
parliamentary republic
Slovenia
parliamentary republic
Solomon Islands
parliamentary democracy (National Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Somalia
federal parliamentary republic
South Africa
parliamentary republic
South Sudan
presidential republic
Spain
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Sri Lanka
presidential republic
Sudan
presidential republic
Suriname
presidential republic
Svalbard
non-self-governing territory of Norway
Sweden
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Switzerland
federal republic (formally a confederation)
Syria
presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Taiwan
semi-presidential republic
Tajikistan
presidential republic
Tanzania
presidential republic
Thailand
constitutional monarchy; note - interim military-affiliated government since May 2014
Timor-Leste
semi-presidential republic
Togo
presidential republic
Tokelau
parliamentary democratic dependency (General Fono); a territory of New Zealand
Tonga
constitutional monarchy
Trinidad and Tobago
parliamentary republic
Tunisia
parliamentary republic
Turkey
parliamentary republic
Turkmenistan
presidential republic; authoritarian
Turks and Caicos Islands
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly); self-governing overseas territory of the UK
Tuvalu
parliamentary democracy (House of Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Uganda
presidential republic
Ukraine
semi-presidential republic
United Arab Emirates
federation of monarchies
United Kingdom
parliamentary constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
United States
constitutional federal republic
Uruguay
presidential republic
Uzbekistan
presidential republic; highly authoritarian
Vanuatu
parliamentary republic
Venezuela
federal presidential republic
Vietnam
communist state
Virgin Islands
presidential democracy; a self-governing territory of the US
Wallis and Futuna
parliamentary democracy (Territorial Assembly); overseas collectivity of France
Western Sahara
legal status of territory and issue of sovereignty unresolved - territory contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), near Tindouf, Algeria, was led by President Mohamed ABDELAZIZ until his death in May 2016; current President Brahim GHALI elected in July 2016; territory partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976 when Spain withdrew, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds; Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979; Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control; the Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as an Organization of African Unity (OAU) member in 1984 - Morocco between 1980 and 1987 built a fortified sand berm delineating the roughly 75% of Western Sahara west of the barrier that currently is controlled by Morocco; guerrilla activities continued sporadically until a UN-monitored cease-fire was implemented on 6 September 1991 (Security Council Resolution 690) by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
Yemen
in transition
Zambia
presidential republic
Zimbabwe
semi-presidential republic