List of forms of government and systems of government

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This list of the forms of government and government shows all the systems of government that occur, sorted according to the current two-part conception of government forms , namely republic and monarchy . However, since some political scientists and constitutional lawyers sometimes also demarcate these two forms of government from dictatorial systems (which is controversial, especially since dictatorships usually call themselves monarchies or republics in formal legal terms), the government systems that occur there are also explained in more detail below:


Monarchies (Gr. Rule of the one ) denote a single rule , or nowadays more aptly a form of government in which a monarch is the sovereign . The executive power is basically concentrated in one person at the top (until the 19th century the monarch exercised sole state power , see monarchical principle ; today it is not necessarily centralized), which is either through inheritance or through election for life according to traditional rites is determined. A monarch is in office for life or until he voluntarily abdicates, but in some states can also be legally removed from office or forced to abdicate.

Variants of the form of government monarchy

  • Hereditary monarchy : A hereditary monarchy describes a monarchy in which the succession to the throne is taken by the descendants of the monarch.
  • Elective monarchy : The monarch is not determined by succession, but by election.

The following lists the possible systems of government that can occur in monarchies (excluding the dictatorial- autocratic systems):

Systems of government
in monarchies
Absolute Monarchy The monarch has unlimited power (see also tyranny / despotism in the dictatorship section )
Constitutional monarchy The monarch's power is more or less impaired by a constitution; he cannot rule absolutely.
Parliamentary monarchy Democratic monarchy, as the monarch only has representative tasks
Estates monarchy Division of the people into several unequally powerful estates , feudal rule and strong monarchy (cf. the Middle Ages, feudalism )


The republic ( Latin for public affairs ) primarily stands for the common good or for popular sovereignty . As the form of government that is oriented towards the common good, it has been regarded as the counterpart to the monarchy since the French Revolution; often goes hand in hand with democracy, but does not have to ( for example, the Roman Republic was not democratic; parliamentary monarchies are democratic, but not republics).

Variants of the form of government Republic

(are not always mutually exclusive):

The following lists the possible systems of government that may appear in republics (excluding the dictatorial- autocratic systems):

Systems of government
in republics
Parliamentary government system The offices of head of state and government are separate, with the government always depending on the confidence of parliament.
Presidential system of government (presidential republic) Republic in which the president is both head of state and head of government and is determined in (quasi) direct popular elections.
Semi-presidential system of government Originally a term for the French political system during the Fifth Republic , today it is also applied to other systems. Mixed type of parliamentary and presidential system .
System of parliamentary executive power Republic in which the president is both head of state and head of government, but is elected by parliament and depends on its trust.
Soviet Republic Rule is exercised through councils directly elected by the people .
Directory system Republic in which a board of directors has the power to govern.


The dictatorship (Latin: to prescribe, to command ) is a political system that is usually counted among the forms of rule , but can also be understood as a form of government . Originally, a (Roman) dictator was a commanding officer legitimized with special powers over all areas for time in times of need. In a dictatorship, a single dictator or a small group rules without free elections; Unlike monarchs, (modern) dictators do not come to power through inheritance or election, but illegitimately by overthrowing a legitimate form of government. That is why formal ( de jure ) republics or monarchies can also be run dictatorially.

Variants of the form of government dictatorship

The exercise of power can either

A special case of dictatorship is the dictatorship of the proletariat , which stems from communist ideology , i.e. the rule of the workers.

The following table also specifically summarizes the dictatorial systems of government:

Systems of government
in dictatorships
One-party system Dictatorial rule by a party, often found in real socialist or fascist countries
Military dictatorship Exercise of government through a military system
Personal dictatorship fixed on a leader, less ideological dictatorship and thus the government system of a dictatorial, charismatic rule
Mixed forms Mixed types from the previous dictatorship variants
Tyranny / despotism Degenerate form of absolute (violent) rule, corresponds to an autocracy or despotism and is thus an illegitimate dictatorship and arbitrary rule of the monarch

See also