Government system

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World map over the systems of government
Systems of government in the world
Republican form of government:
  • presidential political system
  • semi-presidential system of government
  • Parliamentary government system
  • parliamentary executive power

  • Monarchical form of government:
  • parliamentary monarchy
  • Constitutional monarchy
  • Absolute Monarchy

  • Dictatorial systems (mostly in republics):
  • One-party system (although block parties may exist)
  • Constitutional government overthrown
    ( de facto mostly military dictatorships )

  • other systems or unclear
    political situations
  • Last updated 2012

    The system of government describes the formal structure and functioning of a government . The system of government is sometimes used synonymously for the term “ political system ”, although the latter is a more abstract term in the true sense. According to Winfried Steffani , a political system is much more than the government, and the government system is a political science classification of different types of government. The systems of government are sometimes also referred to as forms of government .

    Central to the typology of the system of government is the question of how the head of state , head of government and parliament relate to one another, i. H. which political institution has which competencies .


    Important systems of government, which are based on the position of the head of state, government and parliament or in particular their power constellation in the constitutional structure, are listed below:

    • in republics :
      • government Presidential (The determined by popular election president has broad powers and is head of state and head of government at the same time.)
      • semi-presidential (intermediate form between the presidential and parliamentary system; certain "mixed forms" of elements of the presidential and parliamentary system of government)
      • parliamentary (the government isdependent onthe confidence of parliament as the center of state power .)
      • Parliamentary executive power (special case of the parliamentary system in which the president is elected head of state and head of government by parliament and is dependent on their trust.)
      • Directory system (A board of directors elected by parliament as a collective body is responsible for governing power anddoes not depend on the trust of parliament ex post .)
      • Council republic (rule isexercisedover councils directly elected by the people, which do not have a free mandate.)
    • in dictatorships (special cases, in modern times often in republics):
      • One- party system (In fact, there is only one electoral political party that rules dictatorially, usually with a republican claim.)
      • Military dictatorship (The constitutional government is overthrown and is instead exercised by the military.)
      • Personal dictatorship ( dictatorship linked to a fixed leadership figure, supported by charismatic rule and personality cult , in which the system is tailored to the ruler.)
      • Tyranny (historical term used in antiquity for a degenerate, autocratic arbitrary rule of a monarch.)

    The system of government can conceptually be distinguished from the form of government and the form of rule of a political community. In this case, the form of the state means primarily a type of political organizational form of a state , especially with regard to the position of the head of state or the question of who and in what way can exercise functions of sovereignty personally or as a representative. In a basic typification, republic and monarchy are first compared and these are further subdivided.

    If the form of rule is to be considered, the main focus is on the design of the real ( de facto ) power relations in a state or the actual mode of rule, i.e. the question of which authorities are entitled to certain decisions, who prepares the options and who actually decides. In modern literature this division is often reduced to the dualism between legitimate and illegitimate rule . But even within legitimate rule and a democratic system of government it can be decisive whether decisions and regulations z. B. be prepared significantly by associations and parties, the administrative bureaucracy or parliament, or whether certain instances can act as veto players, what role the military or religious or revolutionary groups and bodies play, etc. Some political scientists, however, deal with the form of rule and the system of government as synonyms .

    Individual evidence

    1. See Christoph Grabenwarter / Michael Holoubek : Constitutional Law - General Administrative Law. Vienna 2009, p. 31 .
    2. Gisela Riescher , Marcus Obrecht and Tobias Haas: Theories of Comparative Government. An introduction . Oldenbourg, Munich 2011, p. 33.


    • Jürgen Hartmann : The system of government. Definition, typology and political theory background. In: Jürgen Hartmann: Western systems of government: parliamentarism, presidential and semi-presidential system of government. VS Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-531-14221-6 , p. 15 ff.

    Web links

    Wiktionary: System of government  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations