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Republic - Parliamentary

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Republic-type Constitutional Monarchy

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Republic Countries 2024

A republic is a form of government in which the power is held by the people, but instead of ruling directly, the people loan their power to elected representatives who represent them and their interests. The word "republic" comes from the Latin term res public, which means "public things," "public matter," or "public affair." This reflects the fact that governing in republics is considered the right and duty of the people as a whole, not the exclusive privilege of a small, elite group of rulers. In some countries, such as the United States, "Republican" is also the proper name of a political party. In those countries, a "republican" government is one in which the people elect politicians to represent them, but a "Republican" government is one run by members of the Republican party.

Republic vs representative democracy vs direct democracy

Republics are also referred to as representative democracies. These differ from direct democracies, in which citizens govern the state themselves, not through representatives. While it sounds ideal, in actual practice a true direct democracy in which every citizen voted on every government decision would be logistically impractical, if not impossible. Moreover, because most people lack the time it would take to be fully educated about every decision, it's likely that most votes would include a huge number of poorly informed voters.

In light of these complications, all current modern democracies are republics. Direct democracies and republics are both considered the opposite of dictatorships, monarchies, or authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, in which decisions are made by just a few people—perhaps even a single person. Most often, a republic is a single sovereign state. In some cases, however, a republic is a union, often called a federation, of smaller, sub-sovereign states. These states are typically also republican in nature. Each of the U.S. states is guaranteed a “republican form of government” by the United States Constitution. The Soviet Union—formally known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or U.S.S.R.—was another federation. Its fifteen individual nations were all sub-sovereign republics.

History of the republic

Before the 1600s, the term "republic" was used to designate any state that was not an authoritarian regime. Republic could encompass not only democratic states but also oligarchies, aristocracies, and monarchies. French philosopher Jean Bodin wrote a definition of the republic in his Six Books of the Commonwealth in 1576. It read, “the rightly ordered government of a number of families, and of those things which are their common concern, by a sovereign power.” The definition of a republic began to shift during the 17th and 18th centuries, amid growing resistance to absolutist regimes and a series of revolutions. These include the American Revolution and the French Revolution. These events shaped the term "republic" to designate governments in which the leader is periodically appointed under a constitution (as opposed to inherited as it would be in a monarchy), typically by an election.

Which countries are really republics?

159 of the world’s sovereign states use the word "republic" in their official names. For example, the proper name of the country we usually call South Korea is actually the Republic of Korea. However, compiling a list of which countries truly operate as republics is no easy feat. This is partly due to the generously broad modern definition of a republic and partly due to the fact that the term is occasionally incorporated into the titles of countries that have arguably distorted its definition. One well-known example of this is North Korea, whose official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite the fact that the country is widely considered to be a military dictatorship and a totalitarian regime rather than a republic. At the same time, many of the world’s most prominent true republics, such as the United States, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, do not include the word “republic” in their names at all.

Even without considering nations' official names, the distinction between what qualifies as a republic and what does not can be fuzzy at times. For instance, Russia is theoretically a republic because its government is composed largely of elected representatives. However, significant evidence exists that the elections are heavily controlled and influenced, if not rigged outright, by the current government. This casts doubt upon the integrity of the nation's elections and calls into question just how much power the people have when choosing their representatives and whether those representatives' actions truly reflect the will of the people.

Other governments, such as Cuba and China, have goen one step further and established a "one-party" system in which all political parties other than the ruling party are illegal. If elections are held, they feature only specific candidates—often only one per position—hand-picked by the existing government. The ruling officials are indeed voted in by the people, but the people have no choice in the matter, which arguably subverts the concept of a republic and usurps the power from the people.

On the other hand, several other countries (mostly former British colonies) would likely be republics if not for a technicality. Countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom are defined as constitutional monarchies because they have a queen or king who acts as the head of the state. However, that monarch's role is largely ceremonial and the rest of the government functions nearly identically to a parliamentary republic, with the people choosing the overwhelming majority of their representatives in free and fair elections.

Scenarios such as these are why the political terms de jure and de facto are often used. De jure refers to the legally recognized (read: theoretical or official "on paper") version of the government, while de facto refers to the way a government actually operates. It is not uncommon for a country's de jure government to be a republic, but for its de facto version to be something quite different (or vice versa). In light of these intricacies, it's important to remember that whether a country is a republic or not is not necessarily an accurate indicator as to the level of freedom, electoral choice, or government oppression in that country.

Presidential republics and parliamentary republics

There are many countries in the world with republic governments, although the specific type of republic they have can vary. The two most common basic types of republic are the presidential republic and the parliamentary republic. The differences are largely in the structure and the distribution of power.

For instance, in a presidential republic, the executive branch of the government is led by a president who is elected by the people. In a parliamentary republic, the executive branch is led by a group of elected officials, which may or may not be called a parliament, and that group elects a prime minister from among themselves. Both of these configurations have numerous variations, including semi-presidential systems in which power is more balanced between the president and the prime minister.

The United States is a presidential republic. After the American Revolution ended and the colonies won independence from Great Britain, the Constitution was written, establishing the United States as a federal constitutional democratic republic. Every four years, American citizens over the age of 18 elect a new President and participate in other smaller elections. Like many other nations, the U.S. is considered a hybrid government and is simultaneously a constitutional republic, a representative democracy, and a democratic republic.

The republican government in the U.S. is based on three basic principles:

  • The power and authority comes from the people and not a supreme authority (king)
  • A written constitution protects the rights of the people
  • Through the vote of the people, power is given to elected representatives based on majority rule to serve the interests of the citizens and act on their behalf. Additionally, the representatives of the country are responsible for helping all the people in the country, not just a few.

Germany is another example of a republic, although because it is a parliamentary republic its various branches are structured slightly differently from those in the United States. Germany’s government is considered to be a federal democratic constitutional republic. The German Constitution emphasizes the protection of individual liberty and the civil rights of the people. Article 38 of German Basic Law states that elections are to be universal, direct, free, equal, and secret. Elections in Germany include elections to the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, every four years.

Countries with a republic government

Countries that are presidential republics include, but are not limited to: Angola, Argetnina, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Panma, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Korea, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United STates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Countries that are semi-presidential republics include, but are not limited to: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Congo (Democratic Reppublic of the), Congo (Republic of the), East Timor, Egypt, France, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

Countries that are parliamentary republics include, but are not limited to: Alabnia, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominica, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kiribati, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu.

Countries that are constitutional monarchies, but which function largely as republics: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Cook Islands, Denmark, Grenada, Jamaica, Japan, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Kucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.

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Official Name
Republic in Title
Government Type
AfghanistanIslamic Emirate of Afghanistan (formerly Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)Provisional
AlbaniaRepublic of AlbaniaRepublic - Parliamentary
AlgeriaPeople's Democratic Republic of AlgeriaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
AndorraPrincipality of AndorraRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
AngolaRepublic of AngolaRepublic - Presidential
Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and BarbudaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
ArgentinaArgentine RepublicRepublic - Presidential
ArmeniaRepublic of ArmeniaRepublic - Parliamentary
AustraliaCommonwealth of AustraliaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
AustriaRepublic of AustriaRepublic - Parliamentary
AzerbaijanRepublic of AzerbaijanRepublic - Semi-Presidential
BahamasCommonwealth of the BahamasRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
BahrainKingdom of BahrainConstitutional Monarchy
BangladeshPeople's Republic of BangladeshRepublic - Parliamentary
BarbadosBarbadosRepublic - Parliamentary
BelarusRepublic of BelarusRepublic - Presidential
BelgiumKingdom of BelgiumRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
BelizeBelizeRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
BeninRepublic of BeninRepublic - Presidential
BhutanKingdom of BhutanConstitutional Monarchy
BoliviaPlurinational State of BoliviaRepublic - Presidential
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and HerzegovinaRepublic - Parliamentary
BotswanaRepublic of BotswanaRepublic - Parliamentary
BrazilFederative Republic of BrazilRepublic - Presidential
BruneiNegara Brunei Darussalam Absolute Monarchy
BulgariaRepublic of BulgariaRepublic - Parliamentary
Burkina FasoBurkina FasoRepublic - Semi-Presidential
BurundiRepublic of BurundiRepublic - Presidential
CambodiaKingdom of CambodiaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
CameroonRepublic of CameroonRepublic - Presidential
CanadaCanadaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Cape VerdeThe Republic of Cabo VerdeRepublic - Semi-Presidential
Central African RepublicCentral African RepublicRepublic - Presidential
ChadRepublic of ChadProvisional
ChileRepublic of ChileRepublic - Presidential
ChinaPeople's Republic of ChinaRepublic - One-Party State
ColombiaRepublic of ColombiaRepublic - Presidential
ComorosUnion of the ComorosRepublic - Presidential
Cook IslandsThe Cook IslandsRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Costa RicaRepublic of Costa RicaRepublic - Presidential
CroatiaRepublic of CroatiaRepublic - Parliamentary
CubaRepublic of CubaRepublic - One-Party State
CyprusRepublic of CyprusRepublic - Presidential
Czech RepublicCzech RepublicRepublic - Parliamentary
DenmarkDenmarkRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
DjiboutiRepublic of DjiboutiRepublic - Presidential
DominicaRepublic of DominicaRepublic - Parliamentary
Dominican RepublicDominican RepublicRepublic - Presidential
DR CongoDemocratic Republic of the CongoRepublic - Semi-Presidential
EcuadorRepublic of EcuadorRepublic - Presidential
EgyptArab Republic of EgyptRepublic - Semi-Presidential
El SalvadorRepublic of El SalvadorRepublic - Presidential
Equatorial GuineaRepublic of Equatorial GuineaRepublic - Presidential
EritreaState of EritreaRepublic - One-Party State
EstoniaRepublic of EstoniaRepublic - Parliamentary
EswatiniKingdom of EswatiniAbsolute Monarchy
EthiopiaFederal Democratic Republic of EthiopiaRepublic - Parliamentary
FijiRepublic of FijiRepublic - Parliamentary
FinlandRepublic of FinlandRepublic - Parliamentary
FranceFrench RepublicRepublic - Semi-Presidential
GabonGabonese RepublicRepublic - Presidential
GambiaRepublic of the GambiaRepublic - Presidential
GeorgiaGeorgiaRepublic - Parliamentary
GermanyFederal Republic of GermanyRepublic - Parliamentary
GhanaRepublic of GhanaRepublic - Presidential
GreeceHellenic RepublicRepublic - Parliamentary
GrenadaGrenadaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
GuatemalaRepublic of GuatemalaRepublic - Presidential
GuineaRepublic of GuineaProvisional
Guinea BissauRepublic of Guinea-BisseauRepublic - Semi-Presidential
GuyanaCo-operative Republic of GuyanaRepublic - Parliamentary
HaitiRepublic of HaitiRepublic - Semi-Presidential
HondurasRepublic of HondurasRepublic - Presidential
HungaryHungaryRepublic - Parliamentary
IcelandIcelandRepublic - Parliamentary
IndiaRepublic of IndiaRepublic - Parliamentary
IndonesiaRepublic of IndonesiaRepublic - Presidential
IranIslamic Republic of IranRepublic - Presidential
IraqRepublic of IraqRepublic - Parliamentary
IrelandIrelandRepublic - Parliamentary
IsraelState of IsraelRepublic - Parliamentary
ItalyItalian RepublicRepublic - Parliamentary
Ivory CoastRepublic of the Côte d'IvoireRepublic - Presidential
JamaicaJamaicaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
JapanJapanRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
JordanHashemite Kingdom of JordanConstitutional Monarchy
KazakhstanRepublic of KazakhstanRepublic - Presidential
KenyaRepublic of KenyaRepublic - Presidential
KiribatiRepublic of KiribatiRepublic - Parliamentary
KuwaitState of KuwaitConstitutional Monarchy
KyrgyzstanKyrgyz RepublicRepublic - Presidential
LaosLao People's Democratic RepublicRepublic - One-Party State
LatviaRepublic of LatviaRepublic - Parliamentary
LebanonRepublic of LebanonRepublic - Parliamentary
LesothoKingdom of LesothoRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
LiberiaRepublic of LiberiaRepublic - Presidential
LibyaState of LibyaProvisional
LiechtensteinPrincipality of LiechtensteinConstitutional Monarchy
LithuaniaRepublic of LithuaniaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
LuxembourgGrand Duchy of LuxembourgRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
MadagascarRepublic of MadagascarRepublic - Semi-Presidential
MalawiRepublic of MalawiRepublic - Presidential
MalaysiaMalaysiaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
MaldivesRepublic of MaldivesRepublic - Presidential
MaliRepublic of MaliProvisional
MaltaRepublic of MaltaRepublic - Parliamentary
Marshall IslandsRepublic of the Marshall IslandsRepublic - Parliamentary
MauritaniaIslamic Republic of MauritaniaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
MauritiusRepublic of MauritiusRepublic - Parliamentary
MexicoUnited Mexican StatesRepublic - Presidential
MicronesiaFederated States of MicronesiaRepublic - Parliamentary
MoldovaRepublic of MoldovaRepublic - Parliamentary
MonacoPrincipality of MonacoConstitutional Monarchy
MongoliaMongoliaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
MontenegroMontenegroRepublic - Parliamentary
MoroccoKingdom of MoroccoConstitutional Monarchy
MozambiqueRepublic of MozambiqueRepublic - Semi-Presidential
MyanmarRepublic of the Union of MyanmarProvisional
NamibiaRepublic of NamibiaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
NauruRepublic of NauruRepublic - Parliamentary
NepalFederal Democratic Republic of NepalRepublic - Parliamentary
NetherlandsNetherlandsRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
New ZealandNew ZealandRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
NicaraguaRepublic of NicaraguaRepublic - Presidential
NigerRepublic of the NigerRepublic - Semi-Presidential
NigeriaFederal Republic of NigeriaRepublic - Presidential
NiueThe Republic of NiueRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
North KoreaDemocratic People's Republic of KoreaRepublic - One-Party State
North MacedoniaRepublic of North MacedoniaRepublic - Parliamentary
NorwayKingdom of NorwayRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
OmanSultanate of OmanAbsolute Monarchy
PakistanIslamic Republic of PakistanRepublic - Parliamentary
PalauRepublic of PalauRepublic - Presidential
PalestineState of PalestineRepublic - Semi-Presidential
PanamaRepublic of PanamaRepublic - Presidential
Papua New GuineaIndependent State of Papua New GuineaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
ParaguayRepublic of ParaguayRepublic - Presidential
PeruRepublic of PeruRepublic - Presidential
PhilippinesRepublic of the PhilippinesRepublic - Presidential
PolandRepublic of PolandRepublic - Semi-Presidential
PortugalPortuguese RepublicRepublic - Semi-Presidential
QatarState of QatarConstitutional Monarchy
Republic of the CongoRepublic of the CongoRepublic - Semi-Presidential
RomaniaRomaniaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
RussiaRussian FederationRepublic - Semi-Presidential
RwandaRepublic of RwandaRepublic - Presidential
Saint Kitts and NevisFederation of Saint Christopher and NevisRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Saint LuciaSaint LuciaRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
SamoaIndependent State of SamoaRepublic - Parliamentary
San MarinoRepublic of San MarinoRepublic - Parliamentary
Sao Tome and PrincipeDemocratic Republic of São Tomé and PríncipeRepublic - Semi-Presidential
Saudi ArabiaKingdom of Saudi ArabiaAbsolute Monarchy
SenegalRepublic of SenegalRepublic - Presidential
SerbiaRepublic of SerbiaRepublic - Parliamentary
SeychellesRepublic of SeychellesRepublic - Presidential
Sierra LeoneRepublic of Sierra LeoneRepublic - Presidential
SingaporeRepublic of SingaporeRepublic - Parliamentary
SlovakiaSlovak RepublicRepublic - Parliamentary
SloveniaRepublic of SloveniaRepublic - Parliamentary
Solomon IslandsSolomon IslandsRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
SomaliaFederal Republic of SomaliaRepublic - Parliamentary
South AfricaRepublic of South AfricaRepublic - Parliamentary
South KoreaRepublic of KoreaRepublic - Presidential
South SudanRepublic of South SudanRepublic - Presidential
SpainKingdom of SpainRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Sri LankaDemocratic Socialist Republic of Sri LankaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
SudanRepublic of the SudanProvisional
SurinameRepublic of SurinameRepublic - Parliamentary
SwedenKingdom of SwedenRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
SwitzerlandSwiss ConfederationRepublic - Parliamentary
SyriaSyrian Arab RepublicRepublic - Semi-Presidential
TaiwanRepublic of ChinaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
TajikistanRepublic of TajikstanRepublic - Presidential
TanzaniaUnited Republic of TanzaniaRepublic - Presidential
ThailandKingdom of ThailandRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
Timor LesteDemocratic Republic of Timor-LesteRepublic - Semi-Presidential
TogoTogolese RepublicRepublic - Presidential
TongaKingdom of TongaConstitutional Monarchy
Trinidad and TobagoRepublic of Trinidad and TobagoRepublic - Parliamentary
TunisiaRepublic of TunisiaRepublic - Semi-Presidential
TurkeyRepublic of TurkeyRepublic - Presidential
TurkmenistanTurkmenistanRepublic - Presidential
TuvaluTuvaluRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
UgandaRepublic of UgandaRepublic - Presidential
UkraineUkraineRepublic - Semi-Presidential
United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab EmiratesConstitutional Monarchy
United KingdomUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandRepublic-type Constitutional Monarchy
United StatesUnited States of AmericaRepublic - Presidential
UruguayOriental Republic of UruguayRepublic - Presidential
UzbekistanRepublic of UzbekistanRepublic - Presidential
VanuatuRepublic of VanuatuRepublic - Parliamentary
Vatican CityVatican City StateAbsolute Monarchy
VenezuelaBolivarian Republic of VenezuelaRepublic - Presidential
VietnamSocialist Republic of VietnamRepublic - One-Party State
YemenRepublic of YemenProvisional
ZambiaRepublic of ZambiaRepublic - Presidential
ZimbabweRepublic of ZimbabweRepublic - Presidential
showing: 198 rows

How many countries are Presidential republics?

59 countries are considered Presidential republics.

How many countries are Parliamentary republics?

51 countries are considered Parliamentary republics.

Which countries are considered republics?

While many sovereign states use the word 'republic' in their name, many do not operate as a true republic. Some examples of countries that are considered true republics include the United States, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions