Federal republic

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A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government.[1] At its core, the literal meaning of the word republic when used to reference a form of government means: "a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than by a king or queen".

In a federal republic, there is a division of powers between the federal government, and the government of the individual subdivisions. While each federal republic manages this division of powers differently, common matters relating to security and defense, and monetary policy are usually handled at the federal level, while matters such as infrastructure maintenance and education policy are usually handled at the regional or local level. However, views differ on what issues should be a federal competence, and subdivisions usually have sovereignty in some matters where the federal government does not have jurisdiction. A federal republic is thus best defined in contrast to a unitary republic, whereby the central government has complete sovereignty over all aspects of political life. This more decentralized structure helps to explain the tendency for more populous countries to operate as federal republics.[2] Most federal republics codify the division of powers between orders of government in a written constitutional document.

The political differences between a federal republic and other federal states, especially federal monarchies under a parliamentary system of government, are largely a matter of legal form rather than political substance, as most federal states are democratic in structure if not practice with checks and balances. However, some federal monarchies, such as the United Arab Emirates are based upon principles other than democracy.


Federal state Official name and style Subdivisions Head of state
 Argentina Argentine Republic Provinces and one autonomous city President
 Austria[3] Republic of Austria States President
 Bosnia and Herzegovina[4] Bosnia and Herzegovina Entities, cantons and one federal district Collective presidency
 Brazil[5] Federative Republic of Brazil Municipalities, states and one federal district[6] President
 Comoros Union of the Comoros Islands President
 Ethiopia[7] Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Regions President
 Germany[8] Federal Republic of Germany States President
 India[9] Republic of India States and union territories President
 Iraq Republic of Iraq Governorates President
 Mexico[10] United Mexican States States and one autonomous entity President
 Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia States President
   Nepal[11] Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Provinces President
 Nigeria[12] Federal Republic of Nigeria Traditional States, States and one federal territory President
 Pakistan[13] Islamic Republic of Pakistan Provinces, autonomous territories and federal territory President
 Russia[14] Russian Federation Federal subjects President
 Somalia Federal Republic of Somalia Federal member states President
 South Sudan Republic of South Sudan States President
 Sudan Republic of the Sudan States President
  Switzerland[15] Swiss Confederation Cantons Federal council
 United States[16] United States of America 50 states, hundreds of tribal entities, one federal district and several territories President
 Venezuela[17] Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela States, one capital district and federal dependencies President


Federation Official name and style Period Subdivisions
 Dutch Republic Republic of the Seven United Netherlands 1581–1795 Provinces
 Great Colombia Republic of Colombia
United States of Colombia
Federal Republic of Central America United Provinces of Central America
Federal Republic of Central America
Mexico United Mexican States 1824–1835
 China Republic of China 1912–1928 Provinces
Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus 1917–1921
 Germany German Reich 1919–1933 States
 East Germany German Democratic Republic 1949–1952 States
 Russian SFSR Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 1917–1991 Federal subjects
 Soviet Union Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1922–1991 Republics
 Yugoslavia[18] Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1945–1992 Republics
 Serbia and Montenegro Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
State Union of Serbia and Montenegro
1992–2006 Constituent republics
 Burma Union of Burma 1948–1962 States
 Indonesia Republic of the United States of Indonesia 1949–1950[19] States
 Congo-Léopoldville Republic of the Congo 1960–1964
 Cameroon Federal Republic of Cameroon 1961–1972
 South Africa South African Federation 1961–1994
 Tanzania United Republic of Tanzania 1964–1965
 Czechoslovakia[18] Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "republic".
  2. ^ Forum of Federations: [1], Schram, Sanford. Handbook of Federal Countries: United States, pg 373–391, 2005.
  3. ^ CIA World Factbook: Austria, 14 May 2009
  4. ^ CIA World Factbook: Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14 May 2009
  5. ^ CIA World Factbook: Brazil, 14 May 2009
  6. ^ "http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/Constituicao/Constitui%C3%A7ao.htm". planalto.gov.br. Retrieved 2018-05-04. External link in |title= (help)
  7. ^ CIA World Factbook: Ethiopia, 14 May 2009
  8. ^ CIA World Factbook: Germany, 14 May 2009
  9. ^ CIA World Factbook: India, 14 May 2009
  10. ^ CIA World Factbook: Mexico, 14 May 2009
  11. ^ CIA World Factbook: Nepal, 14 May 2009
  12. ^ CIA World Factbook: Nigeria, 14 May 2009
  13. ^ CIA World Factbook: Pakistan, 14 May 2009
  14. ^ "Text of the Russian constitution in English". Constituteproject.org.
  15. ^ CIA World Factbook: Switzerland, 14 May 2009
  16. ^ CIA World Factbook: United States, 14 May 2009
  17. ^ CIA World Factbook: Venezuela, 14 May 2009
  18. ^ a b "The CIA World Factbook officially dated October 15, 1991". Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
  19. ^ The states lived on until a final treaty in 1956 in which Republic of South Maluku and the State of Eastern Sumatra agreed to devolve into the Republic of Indonesia.[citation needed]

External links[edit]