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A stratocracy is a form of government headed by military chiefs. It is not the same as a military dictatorship where the military's political power is not enforced or even supported by other laws. In a stratocracy the state and the military are traditionally the same thing and government positions are always occupied by military leaders. The military's political power is supported by law and the society. As such a stratocracy does not have to be autocratic by nature in order to preserve its right to rule.See Military government.

Historically, the term was used by Greeks to describe the structure of the late Roman Republic and later the early Empire, where there was no distinction between military and civilian offices, and appointment to governing roles required military service and promotion. The closest contemporary government to a stratocracy is the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmarmarker, which is arguably different from most other military dictatorships in that it completely abolished the civilian constitution and legislature. A new constitution due to come into effect in 2010 cements the military's hold on power through mechanisms such as reserving 25% of the seats in the legislature for military personnel .

Stratocracy in Fiction

The popular anime series Fullmetal Alchemist portrays a government which could be viewed as a stratocracy, since there is no suggestion throughout the chronology that anyone other than the military could be in power.

The Cardassian Union from the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is an example of a stratocracy until the fall of the Obsidian Order and the rise in power of the Detapa Council.

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