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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 defence, 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
  Ethiopia[7] Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Regions President
  Germany[8] Federal Republic of Germany States President
  India[9] Republic of India States and territories President
  Mexico[10] United Mexican States States and one autonomous entity President
    Nepal[11] Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Provinces President
  Nigeria[12] Federal Republic of Nigeria States and one federal territory President
  Pakistan[13] Islamic Republic of Pakistan Provinces President
  Russia[14] Russian Federation Federal subjects President
   Switzerland[15] Swiss Confederation Cantons Federal council
  United States[16] United States of America States, 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
  Haiti State of Haiti 1806–1811
  Federal Republic of Central America United Provinces of Central America
Federal Republic of Central America
  Mexico United Mexican States 1824–1835
  Peru-Bolivian Confederation Peru–Bolivian Confederation 1836–1839
  China Republic of China 1912–1949[18] Provinces
  Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus 1917–1920
  Germany German Reich 1919–1933 States
  East Germany German Democratic Republic 1949–1952 States
  Russian SFSR Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
(Russian Federation from 25 December 1991)
19171993 Federal subjects
  Soviet Union Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1922–1991 Republics
  Yugoslavia[19] Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1945–1992 Republics
  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1992–2006 Constituent republics
  Burma Union of Burma 1948–1962 States
  Indonesia Republic of the United States of Indonesia 1949–1950[20] States
  Cameroon Federal Republic of Cameroon 1961–1972
  South Africa Republic of South Africa 1961–1994
  Czechoslovakia[19] Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic
  Turkish Cyprus Turkish Federated State of Cyprus 1975–1983 Districts

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  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. ^ "". 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".
  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. ^ Government continued as a unitary state on sovereignty undetermined Taiwan.
  19. ^ a b "The CIA World Factbook officially dated October 15, 1991". Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
  20. ^ 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 linksEdit