Parliamentary republic with a parliamentarily-dependent head of state

For other uses of "Parliamentary republic", see Parliamentary Republic (disambigation).

A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government where the executive branch (the government) derives its legitimacy from and is accountable to the legislature (the parliament). There are a number of variations of parliamentary republics. Most have a clear differentiation between the head of government and the head of state; with the head of government holding real power, much like constitutional monarchies. Some have fused the roles of head of state and head of government, much like Presidential systems, but with a dependency upon parliamentary power.

For the first case mentioned above, in particular, the form of executive-branch arrangement is distinct from most other parliamentary and semi-presidential republics which separate the head of state (usually designated as the "president") from the head of government (usually designated as "prime minister", "premier" or "chancellor") and subject the latter to the confidence of parliament and a flexible tenure in office while the head of state lacks either dependency, and investing either office with the majority of executive power.


In contrast to republics operating under either the presidential system or the semi-presidential system, the head of state usually does not have broad executive powers as an executive president would, because many of those powers have been granted to a head of government (usually called a prime minister).

However, in a parliamentary republic with a head of state whose tenure is dependent on parliament, the head of government and head of state may form one office (as in Botswana, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, South Africa and Suriname), but the president is still selected in much the same way as the prime minister is in most Westminster systems. This usually means that they are the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties in parliament.

In some instances, the president may legally have executive powers granted to them to undertake the day-to-day running of government (as in Finland) but by convention they either do not use these powers or they use them only to give effect to the advice of the parliament and/or head of government. Some parliamentary republics could therefore be seen as following the semi-presidential system but operating under a parliamentary system.

Historical development

Typically, parliamentary republics are states that were previously constitutional monarchies with a parliamentary system, with the position of head of state hitherto a monarch.[1]

Following the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War, France once again became a republic - the French Third Republic - in 1870. The President of the Third republic had significantly less executive powers than the previous two republics had. The third republic lasted until the invasion of France by Nazi Germany in 1940. Following the end of the war, the French Fourth Republic was constituted along similar lines in 1946. The Fourth Republic saw an era of great economic growth in France and the rebuilding of the nation's social institutions and industry after the war, and played an important part in the development of the process of European integration which changed the continent permanently. Some attempts were made to strengthen the executive branch of government to prevent the unstable situation that had existed before the war, but the instability remained and the Fourth Republic saw frequent changes in government - there were 20 governments in ten years. Additionally, the government proved unable to make effective decisions regarding decolonization. As a result, the Fourth Republic collapsed and what some critics considered to be a de facto coup d'état, subsequently legitimized by a referendum on 5 October 1958, led to the establishment of the French Fifth Republic in 1959.

Chile became the first Parliamentary republic in South America following a civil war in 1891. However, following a coup in 1925 this system was replaced by a Presidential one.

Commonwealth of Nations

Since the London Declaration of 29 April 1949 (just weeks after Ireland declared itself a republic and excluded itself from the Commonwealth) republics have been admitted as members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A number of these republics kept the Westminster Parliamentary system inherited during their British colonial rule.

In the case of many republics in the Commonwealth of Nations, it was common for the Sovereign, formerly represented by a Governor-General, to be replaced by an elected non-executive head of state. This was the case in with South Africa (which left the Commonwealth soon after becoming a republic), Malta, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Vanuatu. In many of these examples, the last Governor-General became the first president. Such was the case with Sri Lanka.

Others became parliamentary republics upon gaining independence.

List of current parliamentary republics

Country Formerly Parliamentary republic adopted Head of state elected by Cameral structure
Albania Albania One-party state 1991 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Austria Austria One-party state 1955 Directly, by second-round system Bicameral
Bangladesh Bangladesh Presidential republic (Commonwealth realm) 1991[note 1] Parliament Unicameral
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system Bicameral
Botswana Botswana British protectorate (Bechuanaland Protectorate) 1966 Parliament Unicameral
Bulgaria Bulgaria One-party state 1989 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Cape Verde Cape Verde One-party state 1990 Directly Unicameral
Croatia Croatia Semi-presidential republic 2000 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Czech Republic Czech Republic One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia) 1993 Directly, by second-round system (since 2013; previously Parliament, by majority) Bicameral
Dominica Dominica British overseas territory 1978 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
East Timor East Timor Military junta (Occupied by Indonesia) 1999 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Estonia Estonia One-party state (Part of Soviet Union) 1991[note 2] Parliament, by two-thirds majority Unicameral
Ethiopia Ethiopia One-party state 1991 Parliament, by two-thirds majority Bicameral
Finland Finland Constitutional monarchy (Part of Russian Empire) 1919 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Germany Germany One-party state 1949[note 3] Federal assembly (Parliament and state delegates), by absolute majority Bicameral
Greece Greece Military junta; Constitutional monarchy 1975 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Hungary Hungary One-party state 1990 Parliament, by absolute majority Unicameral
Iceland Iceland Formerly part of Denmark - constitutional monarchy 1944 Directly, by transferable vote Unicameral
 India Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1950 Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote Bicameral
Iraq Iraq One-party state 2005 Parliament, by two-thirds majority Unicameral (officially bicameral)
Republic of Ireland Ireland Constitutional monarchy (British Dominion) 1949[note 4] Directly, by single transferable vote Bicameral
Israel Israel Protectorate (Part of British Mandate of Palestine) 1948 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Italy Italy Constitutional monarchy 1946 Parliament, by majority Bicameral
Kiribati Kiribati Protectorate 1979 Directly Unicameral
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Presidential system 2010 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Latvia Latvia One-party state (Part of Soviet Union) 1991[note 5] Parliament Unicameral
Lebanon Lebanon Protectorate (French mandate of Lebanon) 1941 Parliament Unicameral
Libya Libya Jamahiriya (before 2011) 2012 Parliament Unicameral
Lithuania Lithuania One-party state (Part of Soviet Union) 1991[note 6] Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia One-party state (Part of the Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Malta Malta Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1974 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Marshall Islands Marshall Islands UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) 1979 Parliament Bicameral
 Mauritius Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1992 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Federated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia UN Trust Territory (Part of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) 1986 Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Moldova Moldova One-party state (Part of Soviet Union, until 1990)
Transitional parliamentary republic (1991-1994)
1994[note 7] Parliament, by majority Unicameral
Mongolia Mongolia One-party state 1949 Directly Unicameral
Montenegro Montenegro One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1992 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Nauru Nauru Australian Trust Territory 1968 Parliament Unicameral
Nepal Nepal Constitutional monarchy 2008 Parliament Unicameral
Pakistan Pakistan Presidential and Semi-presidential system, and Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 2010[2][3] Parliament and state legislators, by single transferable vote Bicameral
Poland Poland One-party state 1990 Directly, by second-round system Bicameral
Samoa Samoa Constitutional monarchy 2007 Parliament Unicameral
San Marino San Marino Roman Empire 301 Parliament Unicameral
Serbia Serbia One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Singapore Singapore Constitutional monarchy (Part of Malaysia) 1965 Directly, by second-round system Unicameral
Slovakia Slovakia One-party state (Part of Czechoslovakia) 1993 Parliament (before 1999)
Directly, by second-round system (since 1999)
Slovenia Slovenia One-party state (Part of Yugoslavia) 1991 Directly, by second-round system Bicameral
Somalia Somalia Transitional Government (after 1991)
One-party state (before 1991)
2012 Parliament Bicameral
South Africa South Africa Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1961 Parliament, majority Bicameral
Switzerland Switzerland Confederation (until 1798)
Client state of the First French Empire (until 1815)
Confederation (before 1848)
1848 Parliament, majority Bicameral
 Trinidad and Tobago Constitutional monarchy (Commonwealth realm) 1976 Parliament Bicameral
Turkey Turkey One-party state 1946 Directly (since 2007, previously by parliament) Unicameral
Vanuatu Vanuatu British-French condominium (New Hebrides) 1980 Parliament and regional council presidents, by majority Unicameral

List of former parliamentary republics

Country Year became a parliamentary republic Year status changed Changed to Status changed due to
 Brazil 1961 1963 Presidential system Referendum
 Burma 1948 1962 Military Junta 1962 Burmese coup d'état
 Chile 1891 1925 Presidential system Referendum
France French Third Republic 1870 1940 Presidential system World War II German Occupation
France French Fourth Republic 1946 1958 Presidential system Political instability
 Fiji 1987 2006 Military Junta 2006 Fijian coup d'état
 Guyana 1970 1980 Semi-presidential system Constitutional amendment
Hungary Hungary 1946 1949 One-party state Creation of the People's Republic of Hungary
 Indonesia 1945 1959 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
 Nigeria 1963 1979 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
 Pakistan 1956 1958 Military Dictatorship 1958 Pakistani coup d'état
1973 1978 1977 Pakistani coup d'état
1988 1999 1999 Pakistani coup d'état
Poland Second Polish Republic 1918 1939 One-party state Invasion of Poland
Philippines First Philippine Republic (Malolos Republic) 1899 1901 Military Dictatorship
(De facto USA Colony)
Capture and Surrender of Emilio Aguinaldo to the American forces
Philippines Fourth Philippine Republic 1978 1987 Presidential system Ratification of the 1987 Constitution
Democratic Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo 1960 1965 Military Dictatorship
(De facto One-party state)
1965 Congolese coup d'état
 Russia 1991[note 8] 1993 Semi-presidential system Referendum[note 9]
 Rhodesia 1970 1979 Parliamentary system Creation of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
 Sri Lanka 1972 1978 Presidential system Constitutional amendment
Syria Syrian Republic 1930 1958 One-party state Creation of the United Arab Republic
Syria Syrian Arab Republic 1961 1963 One-party state 1963 Syrian coup d'état
 Uganda 1963 1966 One-party state Suspension of the constitution
1979 1979 Parliamentary system Creation of Southern Rhodesia
 Zimbabwe 1980 1987 Presidential System Constitutional amendment

See also



de:Parlamentarisches Regierungssystem#Parlamentarische Republik

hy:Պառլամենտական հանրապետություն

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