Countdown To A Republic: Types of republic


A republic is a form of government where citizens elect representatives to govern and make decisions. The head of state is a native of that country, usually taking the title of president.

There are different types of republics:

  • A parliamentary republic is one where the country is run by a parliament. This may take the form of a unicameral (one legislative house) or a bicameral (two legislative houses) system.
  • Barbados will become a parliamentary republic on November 30, 2021 when it changes from a constitutional monarchy. It will maintain a bicameral system.
  • Examples of parliamentary republics include Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji, Greece and India.
  • There may also be the classification of a unitary republic, a single body, known as the central government or single legislature that is responsible for governance as in France and Ireland.
  • Federal republic comprise states or provinces which have some autonomy from the central government, but can enact local laws. These include Germany, Mexico, the United States of America and Nigeria.
  • An Islamic republic is a sovereign nation ruled by Islamic law. Currently, Pakistan, Mauritania and Iran are the only Islamic republics, but Iran is the only theocracy, which means it is governed by religious leaders.
  • A presidential republic is one in which the president is the head of state, but this may be in the form of a unitary or federal republic.

In the Caribbean, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are republics.

All remain members of the Commonwealth, which has its roots in the British Empire. Of the 54-nation grouping, 33 are republics, with Barbados set to become the newest addition. Under current rules, any nation is now eligible to join the Commonwealth.


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