Monarchy Etymology, History, Characteristics and role, Succession Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  Semi-constitutional monarchy
  Constitutional monarchy (executive [Bhutan, Monaco, Tonga] or ceremonial)
  Commonwealth realms (a group of constitutional monarchies in personal union with each other)
Forms of government 2021.svg
Systems of government
Republican forms of government:
  Presidential republics with an executive presidency separate from the legislature
  Semi-presidential system with both an executive presidency and a separate head of government that leads the rest of the executive, who is appointed by the president and accountable to the legislature
  Parliamentary republics with a ceremonial and non-executive president, where a separate head of government leads the executive and is dependent on the confidence of the legislature
  Republics in which a combined head of state and government is elected by, or nominated by, the legislature and may or may not be subject to parliamentary confidence

Monarchical forms of government:
  Constitutional monarchies with a ceremonial and non-executive monarch, where a separate head of government leads the executive
  Semi-constitutional monarchies with a ceremonial monarch, but where royalty still hold significant executive or legislative power
  Absolute monarchies where the monarch leads the executive

  One-party states (in principle republics)
  Countries where constitutional provisions for government have been suspended
  Countries which do not fit any of the above systems (e.g. provisional government or unclear political situations)

Currently, there are 43 nations and a population of roughly half a billion people in the world with a monarch as head of state. They fall roughly into the following categories:

Commonwealth realms

Queen Elizabeth II is, separately, monarch of fifteen Commonwealth realms (Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). They evolved out of the British Empire into fully independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations that retain the Queen as head of state. All fifteen realms are constitutional monarchies and full democracies where the Queen has limited powers or a largely ceremonial role. The Queen is head of the Church of England (the established church of England), while the other 14 realms do not have a state religion.

Other European constitutional monarchies

The Principality of Andorra, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Kingdom of Sweden are fully democratic states in which the monarch has a limited or largely ceremonial role. In some cases, there is a Christian religion established as the official church in each of these countries. This is the Lutheran form of Protestantism in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, while Andorra is a Roman Catholic country. Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands have no official state religion. Luxembourg, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, has five so-called officially recognized cults of national importance (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Greek Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam), a status which gives those religions some privileges like the payment of a state salary to their priests.

Andorra is unique among all existing monarchies, as it is a diarchy, with the co-princes being shared by the president of France and the bishop of Urgell. This situation, based on historical precedence, has created a peculiar situation among monarchies, as:

European semi constitutional monarchies

A semi-constitutional monarchy is a monarchy where the monarch rules according to a democratic constitution but still retains substantial powers. The Principality of Liechtenstein and the Principality of Monaco are European semi constitutional monarchies. For example, the 2003 Constitution referendum gave the Prince of Liechtenstein the power to veto any law that the Landtag (parliament) proposes, while the Landtag can veto any law that the Prince tries to pass. The prince can appoint or dismiss any elective member or government employee. However, he is not an absolute monarch, as the people can call for a referendum to end the monarch's reign. When Hereditary Prince Alois threatened to veto a referendum to legalize abortion in 2011, it came as a surprise because the prince had not vetoed any law for over 30 years.[note 5] The prince of Monaco has simpler powers; he cannot appoint or dismiss any elective member or government employee to or from his or her post, but he can elect the minister of state, government council and judges. Both Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, are theoretically very powerful within their small states, but they have very limited power compared to the Islamic monarchs (see below). They also own huge tracts of land and are shareholders in many companies.

Islamic monarchies

The Islamic monarchs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Brunei Darussalam, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Kuwait, Malaysia, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates generally retain far more powers than their European or Commonwealth counterparts. Brunei Darussalam, Oman, and Saudi Arabia remain absolute monarchies; Bahrain, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates are classified as mixed, meaning there are representative bodies of some kind, but the monarch retains most of his powers. Jordan, Malaysia, and Morocco are constitutional monarchies, but their monarchs still retain more substantial powers than European equivalents.

East and Southeast Asian constitutional monarchies

The kingdoms of Bhutan, Cambodia, Thailand, and Japan are constitutional monarchies where the monarch has a limited or merely ceremonial role. Bhutan made the change in 2008.[27] Cambodia had its own monarchy after independence from the French Colonial Empire, but it was deposed after the Khmer Rouge came into power. The monarchy was subsequently restored in the peace agreement of 1993. Thailand transitioned into a constitutional monarchy over the course of the 20th Century. Japan has had a monarchy, an emperor, since 539, making it the world's oldest existing monarchy.[28] After their defeat in the Second World War, Japan made great strides in limiting the power of the Emperor, giving most of it to the democratically elected National Diet.

Other monarchies

Five monarchies do not fit into any of the above groups by virtue of geography or class of monarchy: the Kingdom of Tonga in Polynesia; the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa; the Vatican City State in Europe and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Of these, Lesotho and Tonga are constitutional monarchies, while Eswatini and the Vatican City are absolute monarchies.

Eswatini is unique among these monarchies, often being considered a diarchy: the King, or Ngwenyama, rules alongside his mother, the Ndlovukati, as dual heads of state[citation needed]. This was originally intended to provide a check on political power. The Ngwenyama, however, is considered the administrative head of state, while the Ndlovukati is considered the spiritual and national head of state, a position which more or less has become symbolic in recent years.[29]

The Pope is the absolute monarch of the Vatican City State (a separate entity from the Holy See) by virtue of his position as head of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome; he is an elected rather than a hereditary ruler, and does not have to be a citizen of the territory prior to his election by the cardinals[citation needed].

The Order of Malta describes itself as a "sovereign subject" based on its unique history and unusual present circumstances, but its exact status in international law is a subject of debate.

In Samoa, the position of head of state is described in Part III of the 1960 Samoan constitution. At the time the constitution was adopted, it was anticipated that future heads of state would be chosen from among the four Tama a 'Aiga "royal" paramount chiefs. However, this is not required by the constitution, and, for this reason, Samoa can be considered a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy.

The ruling Kim family in North Korea (Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un) has been described as a de facto absolute monarchy[30][31][32] or a "hereditary dictatorship".[33] In 2013, Clause 2 of Article 10 of the new edited Ten Fundamental Principles of the Korean Workers' Party states that the party and revolution must be carried "eternally" by the "Baekdu (Kim's) bloodline".[34] This though does not mean it is a de jure absolute monarchy, as the country's name is the Democratic Republic of Korea.

The al-Assad ruling Syria (Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad ) have also been described as a de facto absolute monarchy[30][31][32] or a "hereditary dictatorship".[33] After the death of Hafez Al-Assad in 2000, the Constitution of Syria was amended for the minimum age of the President to change from 40 to 34, which allowed 34 year old Bashar al-Assad to become president.[34] This though does not mean it is a de jure absolute monarchy, as the country's name is the Syrian Arab Republic.

Long form titles for the country

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Now substituted with the concept of autocracy.
  2. ^ Malaysia is a special case. Malaysia’s head of state, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (often translated as "King"), is elected to serve a five-year term. However, he is elected from among the federation's subnational monarchies, each of whom inherit their position and rule for life.
  3. ^ Examples are Oliver Cromwell and Richard Cromwell in the Commonwealth of England, Kim il-Sung and Kim Jong-il in North Korea, the Somoza family in Nicaragua, François Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti, and Hafez al-Assad and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
  4. ^ For example, the Kennedy family in the United States and the Nehru-Gandhi family in India. See list of political families.
  5. ^ In the end, this referendum failed to make it to a vote.


  1. ^ Conrad Phillip Kottak (1991). Cultural Anthropology. McGraw-Hill. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-07-035615-3.
  2. ^ A. Adu Boahen; J. F. Ade Ajayi; Michael Tidy (1986). Topics in West African History. Longman Group. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-582-58504-1.
  3. ^ Political Violence in Ancient India, p.23, "In later Vedic texts, the frequency of the word “dharma” decreased and its connotations shrank; it came to be especially connected with kingship and with the royal consecration ritual known as the rājasūya."
  4. ^ Traditions and encounters. McGraw–Hill Education. p. 63. By about 5000 b.c.e. many Sudanic peoples had formed small monarchies ruled by kings who were viewed as divine or semidivine beings.
  5. ^ The Arthasastra: Selections from the Classic Indian Work on Statecraft. Hackett Publishing. September 15, 2012. ISBN 9781603849029.
  6. ^ The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, ed. Virginia Blain, Patricia Clements and Isobel Grundy, (London: Batsford, 1990), p. 272.
  7. ^ Bohn, H. G. (1849). The Standard Library Cyclopedia of Political, Constitutional, Statistical and Forensic Knowledge. p. 640. A republic, according to the modern usage of the word, signifies a political community which is not under monarchical government ... in which one person does not possess the entire sovereign power.
  8. ^ "Definition of Republic". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved February 18, 2017. a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch ... a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law
  9. ^ "The definition of republic". Retrieved February 18, 2017. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. ... a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.
  10. ^ Mansourov, Alexandre. "Korean Monarch Kim Jong Il: Technocrat Ruler of the Hermit Kingdom Facing the Challenge of Modernity". The Nautilus Institute. Archived from the original on September 22, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  11. ^ W. Veenendaal, "Monarchy and Democracy in Small States: An Ambiguous Symbiosis," in S. Wolf, ed., State Size Matters: Politik und Recht I'm Kontext von Kleinstaatlichkeit und Monarchie (Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2016), pp. 183–198, doi:10.1007/978-3-658-07725-9_9, ISBN 978-3-658-07724-2.
  12. ^ Gerring, John; Wig, Tore; Veenendaal, Wouter; Weitzel, Daniel; Teorell, Jan; Kikuta, Kyosuke (July 12, 2020). "Why Monarchy? The Rise and Demise of a Regime Type". Comparative Political Studies. 54 (3–4): 585–622. doi:10.1177/0010414020938090. hdl:10852/84589. ISSN 0010-4140. S2CID 225612565.
  13. ^ Beemer, Cristy (2011). "The Female Monarchy: A Rhetorical Strategy of Early Modern Rule". Rhetoric Review. 30 (3): 258–274. ISSN 0735-0198.
  14. ^ "The Definition of an Elective Monarchy". The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Marlowe, Lara. "The Central African Republic, where Emperor Bokassa ruled with violence and greed". The Irish Times. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  16. ^ Spence, Jonathan D. (1999) The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton and Company. p. 274. ISBN 0-393-97351-4.
  17. ^ Anckar, Carsten; Akademi, Åbo (2016). "Semi presidential systems and semi constitutional monarchies: A historical assessment of executive power-sharing". European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Meyers Taschenlexikon Geschichte 1982 vol.1 p21
  19. ^ Wimmer, Andreas; Feinstein, Yuval (October 8, 2010). "The Rise of the Nation-State across the World, 1816 to 2001". American Sociological Review. 75 (5): 764–790. doi:10.1177/0003122410382639. S2CID 10075481. Sovereignty has a domestic and an external component. Domestically, a written constitution claims a nationally defined community of equal citizens as the political (and moral) foundation of the state and foresees some institutional representation of this community (not necessarily a freely elected parliament). Internal sovereignty thus stands in opposition to dynasticism, theocracy, feudal privilege, and mass slavery. [page 773]
  20. ^ Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter (2000). "The constitutional economics of autocratic succession". Public Choice. 103 (1/2): 63–84. doi:10.1023/A:1005078532251. ISSN 0048-5829. S2CID 154097838.
  21. ^ Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter (2004). "Autocratic succession". Encyclopedia of Public Choice. 103: 358–362. doi:10.1007/978-0-306-47828-4_39. ISBN 978-0-306-47828-4.
  22. ^ Murphy, Michael Dean (2001). "A Kinship Glossary: Symbols, Terms, and Concepts". Archived from the original on October 5, 2006. Retrieved October 5, 2006.
  23. ^ SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p. 16.
  24. ^ "Overturning Centuries of Royal Rules" (2011-10-28). Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  25. ^ "New rules on royal succession come into effect". BBC News. March 26, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  26. ^ Chara, Jihan (October 1, 2018). "Saudi Arabia: A prince's revolution". European View. 17 (2): 227–234. doi:10.1177/1781685818803525. ISSN 1781-6858.
  27. ^ Xavier, Constantino (July 8, 2020). "Bhutan's democratic transition and ties to India". Brookings. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  28. ^ "Emperor of Japan". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  29. ^ Thom, Liezl (April 28, 2021). "Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini of Eswatini is looking to the future while embracing her roots". ABC News. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  30. ^ a b Young W. Kihl, Hong Nack Kim. North Korea: The Politics of Regime Survival. Armonk, New York, USA: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2006. Pp 56.
  31. ^ a b Robert A. Scalapino, Chong-Sik Lee. The Society. University of California Press, 1972. Pp. 689.
  32. ^ a b Bong Youn Choy. A history of the Korean reunification movement: its issues and prospects. Research Committee on Korean Reunification, Institute of International Studies, Bradley University, 1984. Pp. 117.
  33. ^ a b Sheridan, Michael (September 16, 2007). "A tale of two dictatorships: The links between North Korea and Syria". The Times. London. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
  34. ^ a b The Twisted Logic of the N.Korean Regime, Chosun Ilbo, 2013-08-13, Accessed date: 2017-01-11

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