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A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government (a system with no clear-cut separation between the executive and legislative branches, but with a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state).

The Power of Parliament

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, the head of government and head of state may form one office in a parliamentary republic (such as South Africa, Botswanamarker and Nauru), 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 the position of head of state hitherto a monarch (and, in the case of some Republics in the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly represented by a Governor General) being replaced by an elected non-executive president (as is the case in the Republic of Irelandmarker, Maltamarker, Trinidad and Tobagomarker, Indiamarker and Vanuatumarker). Mongolia is also a Parliamentary Republic.

List of current Parliamentary republics

Country Formerly Parliamentary republic adopted Head of state elected by
Albaniamarker One-party state 1991 Parliament, by three-fifths majority
Austriamarker One-party state 1955 Direct, by second-round system
Bangladeshmarker Presidential republic 1971 Parliament
Botswanamarker Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1966 Parliament
Bulgariamarker One-party state 1947 Directly, by second-round system
Croatiamarker One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system
Czech Republicmarker One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakiamarker) 1993 Parliament, by majority
Dominicamarker British overseas territory 1978 Parliament, by majority
East Timormarker Military junta (Occupied by Indonesiamarker) 1999 Directly, by second-round system
Estoniamarker Constitutional monarchy (Part of Russian Empiremarker) 1918 Parliament, by two-thirds majority
Ethiopiamarker One-party state 1991 Parliament, by two-thirds majority
Finlandmarker Constitutional monarchy (Part of Russian Empiremarker) 1919 Directly, by second-round system
Germanymarker One-party state 1949 Federal assembly (Parliament and state delegates), by absolute majority
Greecemarker Military junta; Constitutional monarchy 1975 Parliament, by majority
Hungarymarker One-party state 1990 Parliament, by absolute majority
Icelandmarker Constitutional monarchy (Part of Denmark) 1944 Direct, by transferable vote
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1950 Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote
Iraqmarker One-party state 2005 Parliament, by two-thirds majority
Irelandmarker Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1936 Direct, by single transferable vote
Israelmarker Protectorate (Part of British Mandate of Palestine) 1948 Parliament, by majority
Italymarker Constitutional monarchy 1946 Parliament, by majority
Kiribatimarker Protectorate 1979 Citizens
Latviamarker Constitutional monarchy (Part of Russian Empiremarker) 1918 Parliament
Lebanonmarker Protectorate (French mandate of Lebanon) 1941 Parliament
Lithuaniamarker Constitutional monarchy 1918 Direct, by second-round system
Macedoniamarker One-party state (Part of the Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system
Maltamarker Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1974 Parliament, by majority
Marshall Islandsmarker UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) 1979 Parliament
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1992 Parliament, by majority
Federated States of Micronesiamarker UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) 1986 Parliament
Mongoliamarker multi-party system since 1992 1949 Parliament
Montenegromarker One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1992 Directly, by second-round system
Nauru Australian Trust Territory 1968 Parliament
Polandmarker One-party state 1990 Directly, by second-round system
Portugalmarker One-party state (Military junta transition) 1976 Directly, by second-round system
Samoamarker Territory of New Zealandmarker 2007 Parliament
Serbiamarker One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system
Singaporemarker Constitutional monarchy (Part of Malaysiamarker) 1965 Directly, by second-round system
Slovakiamarker One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakiamarker) 1993 Parliament (before 1999)Directly, by second-round system (since 1999)
Sloveniamarker One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system
South Africa Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1961 Parliament, majority
Surinamemarker One party Military Dictatorship 1987 Parliament
Switzerlandmarker Military junta (Occupied by France) 1802 Parliament
Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1976 Parliament
Turkeymarker Constitutional monarchy (Ottoman Empire) 1923 Direct (since 2007, previously by parliament)
Vanuatumarker Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1980 Parliament and regional council presidents, by majority


List of former Parliamentary republics

Country Year became a Parliamentary republic Year status changed Changed to Status changed due to
1961 1963 Presidential system Referendum
1891 1925 Presidential system Referendum
French Third Republic 1870 1940 Vichy France and Free France German invasion (World War II)
French Fourth Republic 1946 1958 Semi Presidential republic (French Fifth Republic) Political instability
1987 2006 Military junta Military coup
1970 1980 Semi Presidential republic Constitutional amendment
1945 1959 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
1956 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
1963 1979 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
1972 1978 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
1963 1966 Presidential system Suspension of the constitution


See also



Notes

  1. In Bangladesh, a Caretaker government takes over for three months during parliamentary elections. The Caretaker government is headed by a Chief adviser (the last Chief Justice to retire), and a group of neutral, non-partisan advisers chosen from the civil society. During this time, the president has jurisdiction over the Ministry of defense and the Ministry of foreign affairs.
  2. The three Baltic states were parliamentary republics after declaring their independence from the Russian Empire in 1918, but were all occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. After regaining independence by 1991, all three countries resumed to parliamentary democracy.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Irish head of state from 1936 to 1949
  6. The three Baltic states were parliamentary republics after declaring their independence from the Russian Empire in 1918, but were all occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. After regaining independence by 1991, all three countries resumed to parliamentary democracy.
  7. The three Baltic states were parliamentary republics after declaring their independence from the Russian Empire in 1918, but were all occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. After regaining independence by 1991, all three countries resumed to parliamentary democracy.
  8. 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.



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