Republican Government

We explain what a republican government is, its characteristics and examples. In addition, we tell you what federal republicanism is.

republican government
A republican government is one in which sovereignty resides in the people.

What is a republican government?

A republican government is one in which sovereignty resides in the people, that is, in which the population delegates political power to the authority through institutions. In this it differs from a monarchical government, in which sovereignty resides in the king or queen. Republican governments are only possible in republican systems, that is, in countries legally and administratively constituted as republics.

Normally, republican governments are democratic in nature, to the point that it is possible to understand the terms “republic” and “democracy” as equivalent, although they do not always mean the same thing. For example, in one-party republics, such as those existing in the communist countries of the 20th century, the essential freedoms for democracy did not exist, but there was a republican system, since they did not have kings but general secretaries elected by and from the party.

The republican government models were born in classical Antiquity, especially in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and were managed through direct democracy, that is, with direct citizen participation in bureaucratic affairs. In fact, the term “republic” comes from the Latin res publicawhich translates as “public affairs”, that is, matters that are the responsibility of the State and, therefore, belong to all citizens.

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In the modern West, republicanism reappeared after the collapse of the Old Regime, after the French Revolution of 1789. Today, republican governments constitute the majority in the countries of the world, either through presidential or parliamentary systems, and in some cases in coexistence with a monarchy of representative functions (parliamentary monarchies).

See also: Forms of government

Characteristics of a republican government

Republican governments are characterized by the following:

  • The sovereignty resides in the townthat is to say, it is the citizens who have the final word regarding who rises to power, and the affairs of the State are considered to belong collectively.
  • Political institutions exert a mutual counterbalance and they are organized into three great powers: the executive branch, in charge of political and administrative management; the legislative power, which submits laws and administrative decisions to debate among popular representatives; and the judiciary, which ensures compliance with the laws and the fundamental principles of public order.
  • The executive power is in the hands of an elected representative by popular vote, either direct or indirect, who receives the name of president, prime minister or chancellor. This charge is temporary. and is subject to the law.
  • The rule of law is enforced, that is, all citizens owe obedience to the law and are at the same time protected by it, without any distinction of trade, social class, sex, religion, race, etc. The criteria used to judge a crime always depend on the crime committed and its context, and not on who the offender is.

Examples of republican governments

Some examples of republican governments at the beginning of the 21st century are:

  • presidential republics: Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Bolivia, Cameroon, Philippines and Uruguay.
  • semi-presidential republics: Ukraine, Taiwan, Senegal, France, Haiti, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Madagascar, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Niger.
  • parliamentary republics: India, Italy, Ethiopia, Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Bulgaria, Israel, Lebanon and Pakistan.
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federal republicanism

Federal republicanism is a type of republican organization that bets on federalism when it comes to politically administering the nation, that is, that proposes the decentralization and distribution of political power and active citizen participation. This type of republican government is characterized by granting a greater share of autonomy to the federated regions (in fact, it is a step prior to cantonalism), whose political institutions are only subject to unified federal law.

monarchical governments

monarchical governments are those in which sovereignty resides in a monarchthat is, a hereditary and more or less absolute ruler, call himself king or queen, emperor, caliph, among other noble titles.

These figures hold the political power of the country to a different extent, depending on whether it is:

  • An absolutist monarchy, in which all power and all decisions are entirely the monarch.
  • A constitutional monarchyin which even the king is subject to the law and the constitution, but continues to lead the country.
  • A parliamentary monarchyin which the king delegates his political power to a parliament elected by the people.

More in: Monarchy


  • “Republic” on Wikipedia.
  • “Republicanism” on Wikipedia.
  • “Monarchy” on Wikipedia.
  • “What is a republican government?” in the congress of the boys and girls of the Congress of the Argentine Republic.
  • “Understanding the republican system of government” in La Nación (Argentina).