Parliamentary republic explained

A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state; with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies. Some have fused the roles of head of state and head of government, much like Presidential systems.

For the first case mentioned above, in particular, the form of executive-branch arrangement is distinct from most other parliamentary and semi-presidential republics which separate the head of state (usually designated as the "president") from the head of government (usually designated as "prime minister", "premier" or "chancellor") and subject the latter to the confidence of parliament and a flexible tenure in office while the head of state lacks either dependency, and investing either office with the majority of executive power.

Powers

In contrast to republics operating under either the presidential system or the semi-presidential system, the head of state usually does not have broad executive powers as an executive president would, because many of those powers have been granted to a head of government (usually called a prime minister).

However, in a parliamentary republic with a head of state whose tenure is dependent on parliament, the head of government and head of state may form one office (as in Botswana, Guyana, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and South Africa; as well as Switzerland, in which the Swiss Federal Council is the head of state and head of government collectively), but the president is still selected in much the same way as the prime minister is in most Westminster systems. This usually means that they are the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties in parliament.

In some instances, the president may legally have executive powers granted to them to undertake the day-to-day running of government (as in Finland) but by convention they either do not use these powers or they use them only to give effect to the advice of the parliament and/or head of government. Some parliamentary republics could therefore be seen as following the semi-presidential system but operating under a parliamentary system.

Historical development

Typically, parliamentary republics are states that were previously constitutional monarchies with a parliamentary system, with the position of head of state hitherto a monarch.[1] However, the first parliamentary republic, the new Swiss Confederation formed in 1803, was created from a loose confederation of independent Cantons.[2] [3]

Following the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War, France once again became a republic - the French Third Republic - in 1870. The President of the Third republic had significantly less executive powers than the previous two republics had. The third republic lasted until the invasion of France by Nazi Germany in 1940. Following the end of the war, the French Fourth Republic was constituted along similar lines in 1946. The Fourth Republic saw an era of great economic growth in France and the rebuilding of the nation's social institutions and industry after the war, and played an important part in the development of the process of European integration which changed the continent permanently. Some attempts were made to strengthen the executive branch of government to prevent the unstable situation that had existed before the war, but the instability remained and the Fourth Republic saw frequent changes in government - there were 20 governments in ten years. Additionally, the government proved unable to make effective decisions regarding decolonization. As a result, the Fourth Republic collapsed and what some critics considered to be a de facto coup d'état, subsequently legitimized by a referendum on 5 October 1958, led to the establishment of the French Fifth Republic in 1959.

Chile became the first Parliamentary republic in South America following a civil war in 1891. However, following a coup in 1925 this system was replaced by a Presidential one.

Commonwealth of Nations

thumb|right|150px|William Gopallawa, the last Governor-General of Ceylon and the first President of Sri Lanka

See main article: Commonwealth of Nations. Since the London Declaration of 29 April 1949 (just weeks after the Ireland declared itself a republic and excluded itself from the Commonwealth) republics have been admitted as members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A number of these republics kept the Westminster Parliamentary system inherited during their British colonial rule.

In the case of many republics in the Commonwealth of Nations, it was common for the Sovereign, formerly represented by a Governor-General, to be replaced by an elected non-executive head of state. This was the case in with South Africa (which left the Commonwealth soon after becoming a republic), Malta, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Vanuatu. In many of these examples, the last Governor-General became the first president. Such was the case with Sri Lanka.

Others, such as Samoa became parliamentary republics upon gaining independence.

List of current parliamentary republics

CountryFormerlyParliamentary republic adoptedHead of state elected by
AlbaniaOne-party state1991Parliament, by majority
AustriaOne-party state1955Directly, by second-round system
BangladeshPresidential republic (Commonwealth realm)1991[4] Parliament
BotswanaBritish protectorate (Bechuanaland Protectorate)1966Parliament
Bosnia and HerzegovinaOne-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)1991Directly, by second-round system
BulgariaOne-party state1989Directly, by second-round system
Cape VerdePortuguese colony1975Directly
CroatiaSemi-presidential republic2000Directly, by second-round system
Czech RepublicOne-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia)1993Parliament, by majority
DominicaBritish overseas territory1978Parliament, by majority
East TimorMilitary junta (Occupied by Indonesia)1999Directly, by second-round system
EstoniaOne-party state (Part of Soviet Union)1991[5] Parliament, by two-thirds majority
EthiopiaOne-party state1991Parliament, by two-thirds majority
FinlandConstitutional monarchy (Part of Russian Empire)1919Directly, by second-round system
GermanyOne-party state1949[6] Federal assembly (Parliament and state delegates), by absolute majority
GreeceMilitary junta; Constitutional monarchy1975Parliament, by majority
HaïtiOne-party state1860Parliament, by majority
HungaryOne-party state1990Parliament, by absolute majority
IcelandFormerly part of Denmark - constitutional monarchy1944Directly, by transferable vote
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1950Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote
IraqOne-party state2005Parliament, by two-thirds majority
IrelandConstitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1949[7] Directly, by single transferable vote
IsraelProtectorate (Part of British Mandate of Palestine)1948Parliament, by majority
ItalyConstitutional monarchy1946Parliament, by majority
KiribatiProtectorate1979Citizens
KyrgyzstanPresidential republic2010Parliament
LatviaOne-party state (Part of Soviet Union)1991[8] Parliament
LebanonProtectorate (French mandate of Lebanon)1941Parliament
LithuaniaOne-party state (Part of Soviet Union)1991[9] Directly, by second-round system
MacedoniaOne-party state (Part of the Yugoslavia)1991Directly, by second-round system
MaltaConstitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1974Parliament, by majority
Marshall IslandsUN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)1979Parliament
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1992Parliament, by majority
Federated States of MicronesiaUN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)1986Parliament
MongoliaOne-party state1949Directly
MontenegroOne-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)1992Directly, by second-round system
NauruAustralian Trust Territory1968Parliament
PakistanPresidential and Semi-presidential system, and Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1956–1958, 1973–1978, 1988–1999, 2010–present[10] [11] Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote
PolandOne-party state1990Directly, by second-round system
PortugalOne-party state (Military junta transition)1976Directly, by second-round system
SamoaTerritory of New Zealand2007Parliament
SerbiaOne-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)1991Directly, by second-round system
SingaporeConstitutional monarchy (Part of Malaysia)1965Directly, by second-round system
SlovakiaOne-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia)1993Parliament (before 1999)Directly, by second-round system (since 1999)
SloveniaOne-party state (Part of Yugoslavia)1991Directly, by second-round system
South AfricaConstitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1961Parliament, majority
SurinameOne party Military Dictatorship1987Parliament, by two-thirds majority.
SwitzerlandMilitary junta (Occupied by France)1802Parliament[12]
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm)1976Parliament
TurkeyConstitutional monarchy (Ottoman Empire)1923Directly (since 2007, previously by parliament)
VanuatuBritish-French condominium (New Hebrides)1980Parliament and regional council presidents, by majority

List of former Parliamentary republics

CountryYear became a Parliamentary republicYear status changedChanged toStatus changed due to
19611963Presidential systemReferendum
18911925Presidential systemReferendum
French Third Republic18701940Presidential systemWorld War II German Occupation
French Fourth Republic19461958Semi-presidential systemPolitical instability
19872006Military JuntaMilitary coup (2006)
19701980Semi-presidential systemConstitutional amendment
19451959Presidential systemConstitutional amendment
19631979Presidential systemConstitutional amendment
Philippines19781987Presidential systemRatification of the 1987 Constitution
1991[13] 1993Semi-presidential systemReferendum[14]
19701979Parliamentary systemCreation of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
19721978Presidential systemConstitutional amendment
19631966Presidential systemSuspension of the constitution
19791979Parliamentary systemCreation of Southern Rhodesia
Zimbabwe19801987Presidential SystemConstitutional amendment

See also

Notes and References

  1. Book: Parliamentary versus presidential government. 0198780443. Oxford University Press. Arend Lijphart. 1992.
  2. Schwabe & Co.: Geschichte der Schweiz und der Schweizer, Schwabe & Co 1986/2004. ISBN 3-7965-2067-7
  3. http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/ocea/vaus/infoch/chhist.html A Brief Survey of Swiss History
  4. Was previously a parliamentary republic between 1971 and 1975.
  5. Estonia was previously a parliamentary republic between 1919 and 1934 when the government was overthrown by a coup d'état. In 1938 Estonia adopted a presidential system and in June 1940 was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
  6. In the case of the former West German states, including former West Berlin, the previous one-party state is Nazi Germany, but in the case of the New Länder and former East Berlin it is East Germany. Please note that German reunification took place on 3 October 1990, when the five re-established states of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin was united into a single city-state. Therefore, this date applies to today's Federal Republic of Germany as a whole, although the area of former East Germany was no part of that parliamentary republic until 1990.
  7. [Irish head of state from 1936 to 1949]
  8. Latvia was was previously a parliamentary republic between 1921 and 1934 when the then prime minister Kārlis Ulmanis took power in a coup d'état. In June 1940 Latvia was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
  9. Lithuania was previously a parliamentary republic between 1920 and 1926 when democratic government was overthrown in a coup d'état. In June 1940 Lithuania was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
  10. News: By Kiran Khalid, CNN. Pakistan lawmakers approve weakening of presidential powers. CNN.com. 2010-04-09. 2010-04-14.
  11. News: '18th Amendment to restore Constitution' | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online. Nation.com.pk. 2010-04-14.
  12. There is neither a prime minister nor a president of Switzerland. The President of the Swiss Confederation is merely primus inter pares in the Swiss Federal Council, the seven-member executive council which constitutes the government as well as the head of state of Switzerland.)
  13. Post of President of Russia is created, and development of separation of powers is started, some of Supreme Soviet's executive powers is transferred to new post. Before that, Russia was a Soviet republic.
  14. Preceded by crisis and armed dissolving of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, then-parliament of the Russian Federation.