Separation of powers
Overview
 
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving...

. Under this model, the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches.
Encyclopedia
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving...

. Under this model, the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is into an executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

, a legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, and a judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

. For similar reasons, the concept of separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

 has been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society.

Montesquieu's tripartite system

The term is ascribed to French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu , generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment...

. Montesquieu described division of political power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 among an executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

, a legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, and a judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

. He based this model on the British constitutional system, in which he perceived a separation of powers among the monarch, Parliament, and the courts of law. Subsequent writers have noted that this was misleading, because the United Kingdom had a very closely connected legislature and executive, with further links to the judiciary (though combined with judicial independence
Judicial independence
Judicial Independence is the idea that the judiciary needs to be kept away from the other branches of government...

).

Montesquieu did specify that "the independence of the judiciary has to be real, and not apparent merely". "The judiciary was generally seen as the most important of powers, independent and unchecked", and also considered it dangerous.

Comparison with other systems

In democratic systems of governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 based on the trias politica, a fundamental parallel and a fundamental difference exists between presidential systems and constitutional monarchic parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

of government.

The parallel is that the 3 branches of government (legislative, executive, judicial) exist largely independent of each other. Each with its competences, prerogatives and its domain of activity, and exercising control over each other.
  • The legislative body has control of the executive finances, and has judiciary powers, it also has control of the way the judiciary works.
  • The judiciary often has control of laws not being contradictory to the constitution or other laws and it has the power to correct and control the way the executive body exercises it powers (to execute the law)


The difference is :
  • In presidential systems the incumbent of the Head-of-state is elected to office, and after transfer of power the president appoints his administration (ministers etc.)(link in the US) or a government headed by a prime minister is formed within the parliament (based on the majority in the parliament) (like in France). The latter might lead to a "cohabitation" where a president and his government belong to different parties or to different coalition. Also further down the ladder of political power regional or local legislative bodies and the chief executive is elected (State governor and State Senate in the US, the Conseil Communal and Bourgemestre in France).
  • In constitutional monarchic parliamentary systems only the legislative body is elected and a government formed on the basis of majority or coalitions of parties. Elected members of parliament have to resign form their mandate in order to accept an Executive office. This is true in regional and local councils are elected and the executive nominated.

In a parliamentary system, when the term of the legislature ends, so too may the tenure of the executive selected by that legislature. Although in a presidential system the executive's term may or may not coincide with the legislature's, their selection is technically independent of the legislature.

The 2 branch power systems may have systems in which certain branches have more than one power. Often a legislative body is elected, while the executive is nominated. The nominated executive branch also has power of presenting legislation, while the legislative body is only has a controlling function. In those system the judiciary is subservient to the executive and has no power to control either the executive or the legality of new legislative texts.

The separation of powers is a doctrine which provides a separate authority, which makes it possible for the authorities to check each others checks and balances (Executive Authority Act 1936).

Various models

Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

s with a high degree of separation of powers are found worldwide. The UK system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 is distinguished by a particular entwining of powers. In Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 the powers are completely separated, even if Council of Ministers need the vote of confidence from both chambers of Parliament, that's however formed by a wide number of members (almost 1,000). A number of Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n countries have electoral branch
Electoral branch
The electoral branch of a government is a branch of government, co-equal to or autonomous from others such as the legislative or judicial branches, which coordinates and adjudicates the conducting of elections...

es of government.

Countries with little separation of power include New Zealand
Politics of New Zealand
The politics of New Zealand take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy. The basic system is closely patterned on that of the Westminster System, although a number of significant modifications have been made...

 and Canada
Politics of Canada
The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is head of state...

. Canada makes limited use of separation of powers in practice, although in theory it distinguishes between branches of government.

Complete separation-of-powers systems are almost always presidential, although theoretically this need not be the case. There are a few historical exceptions, such as the Directoire
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

 system of revolutionary France. Switzerland offers an example of non-Presidential separation of powers today: It is run by a seven-member executive branch, the Federal Council
Swiss Federal Council
The Federal Council is the seven-member executive council which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland and serves as the Swiss collective head of state....

. However, some might argue that Switzerland does not have a strong separation of powers system, as the Federal Council is appointed by parliament (but not dependent on parliament), and the judiciary has no power of review.

Australia: three branches

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 does not maintain a strict separation between the legislative and executive branches of government—indeed, government ministers are required to be a member of parliament—but the federal judiciary strictly guards its independence from the other two branches. However, under influence from the American constitution, the Australian constitution does define the three branches of government separately, and this has been interpreted by the judiciary to induce an implicit separation of powers. State governments have a similar level of separation of power, but this is generally on the basis of convention, rather than constitution.

France

The government of France is divided up into 3 branches.
  • Executive. This includes the popularly elected president as well as the prime minister
    Prime Minister of France
    The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

     and cabinet.
  • Legislature
    Parliament of France
    The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly . Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate, the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.Each...

    . A bicameral legislature that includes the Senate
    French Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

     (upper house) and the National Assembly (lower house).
  • Judiciary. This includes the judicial and administrative orders. It also includes a constitutional court
    Constitutional Council of France
    The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

    .

Hong Kong: three branches

Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 is a largely autonomous Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 territory established under the principle of one country, two systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

. Hong Kong has three branches of government as codified in the Basic Law
Hong Kong Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or simply Hong Kong Basic Law, serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, which preserves the political setup of the British colonial era
British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong refers to Hong Kong as a Crown colony and later, a British dependent territory under British administration from 1841 to 1997.- Colonial establishment :...

:
  • Government - executive
  • Legislative Council
    Legislative Council of Hong Kong
    The Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of Hong Kong.-History:The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 as a colonial legislature under British rule...

     - legislature
  • Judiciary (Court of Final Appeal and other courts and tribunals) - judiciary


The Chief Executive, elected by a 800-member Election Committee
Election Committee
The Election Committee is an 800-member electoral college in the politics of Hong Kong. It was established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This article defines the method of electing the Chief Executive. It is renewed every five years when the sitting Chief Executive's term has expired...

, is both head of the region and head of government, and chairs the Executive Council
Executive Council
Executive Council may refer to:In government:* Executive Council , a constitutional organ which exercises executive power and advises the governor.* Executive Council of Bern, the government of the Swiss canton of Bern....

 which composes of unofficial members and government secretaries. The law courts exercise the power of judicial review
Judicial review in Hong Kong
Judicial review in Hong Kong is conducted according to the Constitutional and Administrative Law List . It comprises two different aspects: firstly, a review of domestic legislation as to their compatibility with the Basic Law ; and secondly, judicial review of administrative decisions under...

 of constitutionality of legislations
Constitutionality
Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution. Acts that are not in accordance with the rules laid down in the constitution are deemed to be ultra vires.-See also:*ultra vires*Company law*Constitutional law...

 and administrative actions, and emphasis the separation of powers in their rulings. The Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal
The Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong is the head of and the most senior judge in the Hong Kong judiciary. The position is second only to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong in the Hong Kong order of precedence...

 also stated this position in the ceremonial opening of the legal year. However, politically separation of powers is usually argued against, with the leaders of the People's Republic of China, the sovereign of Hong Kong, requesting publicly for the three branches to cooperate, and pro-Beijing politicians emphasising an "executive-led" system.

India: three branches

  • Parliament
    Parliament
    A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

     = Legislative
  • Prime Minister
    Prime Minister of India
    The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

    , Cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

    , Government Departments & Civil Service = Executive
    Executive (government)
    Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

  • Supreme Court
    Supreme court
    A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

     = Judicial


The democratic system in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 also offers a clear separation of powers. India follows a parliamentary system of government. The Judiciary branch is fairly independent of the other two branches. Executive powers are vested with the President who is assisted by the Cabinet Secretary
Cabinet Secretary
A Cabinet Secretary is almost always a senior official who provides services and advice to a Cabinet of Ministers. In many countries, the position can have considerably wider functions and powers, including general responsibility for the entire civil service...

 and other Secretaries. All three branches have "checks and balances" over each other to maintain the balance of power. Executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 branch is under the President of India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

, Vice-President of India
Vice-President of India
The Vice-President of India is the second-highest ranking government official in the executive branch of the Government of India, after the President...

 and Cabinet Secretary (India)
Cabinet Secretary (India)
The head of executive officers of civil services of India is the Cabinet Secretary. The Cabinet Secretary is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister...

.

United Kingdom: three branches

  • Parliament - legislature
  • Prime Minister, Cabinet, Government Departments & Civil Service - executive
  • Courts - judiciary


Although the doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 of separation of power plays a role in the United Kingdom's constitutional doctrine, the UK constitution is often described as having "a weak separation of powers" A. V. Dicey
A. V. Dicey
- References :...

, despite its constitution being the one to which Montesquieu originally referred. For example, in the United Kingdom, the executive forms a subset of the legislature, as did—to a lesser extent—the judiciary until the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

. The Prime Minister, the Chief Executive, sits as a member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

, either as a peer in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 or as an elected member of the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 (by convention, and as a result of the supremacy of the Lower House, the Prime Minister now sits in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

) and can effectively be removed from office by a simple majority vote. Furthermore, while the courts in the United Kingdom are undoubtedly amongst the most independent in the world, the Law Lords, who were the final arbiters of judicial disputes in the UK, until recently sat simultaneously in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, the upper house of the legislature, although this arrangement ceased in 2009 when the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Ireland law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal...

 came into existence. Furthermore, because of the existence of Parliamentary sovereignty, while the theory of separation of powers may be studied there, a system such as that of the UK is more accurately described as a "fusion of powers
Fusion of powers
Fusion of powers is a feature of parliamentary democracies, wherein the executive and legislative branches are intermingled. It is often contrasted with the more strict separation of powers found in the presidential democracies. Fusion of powers exists in many, if not a majority, of democracies...

".

The development of the British constitution, which is not a codified document, is based on this fusion in the person of the Monarch, who has a formal role to play in the legislature (Parliament, which is where legal and political sovereignty lies, is the Crown-in-Parliament, and is summoned and dissolved by the Sovereign who must give his or her Royal Assent to all Bills so that they become Acts), the executive (the Sovereign appoints all ministers of His/Her Majesty's Government, who govern in the name of the Crown) and the judiciary (the Sovereign, as the fount of justice, appoints all senior judges, and all public prosecutions are brought in his or her name).

The British legal systems are based on common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 traditions which require:
  • Police
    Police
    The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

     or regulators cannot initiate complaints under criminal law
    Criminal law
    Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

     but can only investigate (prosecution is mostly reserved for the Crown Prosecution Service
    Crown Prosecution Service
    The Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS, is a non-ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. Its role is similar to that of the longer-established Crown Office in Scotland, and the...

    ), which prevents selective enforcement
    Selective enforcement
    Selective enforcement is the ability that executors of the law have to arbitrarily select choice individuals as being outside of the law...

    , e.g. the 'fishing expedition' which is often specifically forbidden.
  • Prosecutor
    Prosecutor
    The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system...

    s cannot withhold evidence from attorneys
    Lawyer
    A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

     for the defendant
    Defendant
    A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute...

    ; to do so results in mistrial or dismissal. Accordingly, their relation to police is no advantage.
  • Defendant
    Defendant
    A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute...

    s convicted can appeal, but only fresh and compelling evidence not available at trial can be introduced, restricting the power of the court of appeal to the process of law applied.

United States: three branches

In the United States Constitution, Article 1 Section I gives Congress only those "legislative powers herein granted" and proceeds to list those permissible actions in Article I Section 8, while Section 9 lists actions that are prohibited for Congress. The vesting clause in Article II places no limits on the Executive branch, simply stating that, "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." The Supreme Court holds "The judicial Power" according to Article III, and it established the implication of Judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 in Marbury vs Madison. The federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 refers to the branches as "branches of government", while some systems use "government" to describe the executive. The Executive branch has attempted to claim power arguing for separation of powers to include being the Commander in Chief of a standing army since the Civil war, executive orders, emergency powers and security classifications since WWII, national security, signing statements, and the scope of the unitary executive
Unitary executive theory
The unitary executive theory is a theory of American constitutional law holding that the President controls the entire executive branch. The doctrine is based upon Article Two of the United States Constitution, which vests "the executive power" of the United States in the President.Although that...

.
Checks and balances

To prevent one branch from becoming supreme, protect the "opulent minority" from the majority, and to induce the branches to cooperate, government systems that employ a separation of powers need a way to balance each of the branches. Typically this was accomplished through a system of "checks and balances", the origin of which, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to Montesquieu
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu , generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment...

. Checks and balances allow for a system based regulation that allows one branch to limit another, such as the power of Congress to alter the composition and jurisdiction of the federal courts.
Legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 (Congress)
Executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 (President)
Judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 (Supreme Court)
  • Passes bills; has broad taxing and spending power
    Taxing and Spending Clause
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, is known as the Taxing and Spending Clause. It is the clause that gives the federal government of the United States its power of taxation...

    ; controls the federal budget
    United States federal budget
    The Budget of the United States Government is the President's proposal to the U.S. Congress which recommends funding levels for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1. Congressional decisions are governed by rules and legislation regarding the federal budget process...

    ; has power to borrow money on the credit of the United States (may be vetoed by President, but vetoes may be overridden
    Veto override
    A veto override is an action by legislators and decision-makers to override an act of veto by someone with such powers - thus forcing through a new decision. The power to override a veto varies greatly in tandem with the veto power itself. The U.S constitution gives a 2/3 majority Congress the...

     with a two-thirds vote of both houses)
  • Has sole power to declare war
    Declaration of war by the United States
    A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another. For the United States, Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says "Congress shall have power to ... declare War"...

    .
  • Oversees, investigates, and makes the rules for the government and its officers.
  • Defines by law the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary in cases not specified by the Constitution
  • Ratification of treaties signed by the President and gives advice and consent
    Advice and consent
    Advice and consent is an English phrase frequently used in enacting formulae of bills and in other legal or constitutional contexts, describing a situation in which the executive branch of a government enacts something previously approved of by the legislative branch.-General:The expression is...

     to presidential appointments to the federal judiciary
    United States federal courts
    The United States federal courts make up the judiciary branch of federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.-Categories:...

    , federal executive departments
    United States Federal Executive Departments
    The United States federal executive departments are among the oldest primary units of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States—the Departments of State, War, and the Treasury all being established within a few weeks of each other in 1789.Federal executive...

    , and other posts (Senate only)
  • Has sole power of impeachment
    Impeachment in the United States
    Impeachment in the United States is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office...

     (House of Representatives) and trial of impeachments (Senate); can remove federal executive and judicial officers from office for high crimes and misdemeanors
  • Is the commander-in-chief
    Commander-in-Chief
    A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

     of the armed forces
    United States armed forces
    The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

  • Executes the instructions of Congress.
  • May veto bills passed by Congress (but the veto may be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses)
  • Executes the spending authorized by Congress.
  • Declares states of emergency and publishes regulations and executive orders.
  • Makes executive agreements (does not require ratification) and signs treaties (ratification requiring by two-thirds of the Senate)
  • Makes appointments to the federal judiciary, federal executive departments
    United States Federal Executive Departments
    The United States federal executive departments are among the oldest primary units of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States—the Departments of State, War, and the Treasury all being established within a few weeks of each other in 1789.Federal executive...

    , and other posts with the advice and consent of the Senate. Has power to make temporary appointment during the recess of the Senate
    Recess appointment
    A recess appointment is the appointment, by the President of the United States, of a senior federal official while the U.S. Senate is in recess. The U.S. Constitution requires that the most senior federal officers must be confirmed by the Senate before assuming office, but while the Senate is in...

  • Has the power to grant "reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."
  • Determines which laws Congress intended to apply to any given case
  • Exercises judicial review
    Judicial review in the United States
    Judicial review in the United States refers to the power of a court to review the constitutionality of a statute or treaty, or to review an administrative regulation for consistency with either a statute, a treaty, or the Constitution itself....

    , reviewing the constitutionality of laws
  • Determines how Congress meant the law to apply to disputes
  • Determines how a law acts to determine the disposition of prisoners
  • Determines how a law acts to compel testimony and the production of evidence
  • Determines how laws should be interpreted to assure uniform policies in a top-down fashion via the appeals process, but gives discretion in individual cases to low-level judges. The amount of discretion depends upon the standard of review
    Standard of review
    In LAW, the standard of review is the amount of deference given by one court in reviewing a decision of a lower court or tribunal. A low standard of review means that the decision under review will be varied or overturned if the reviewing court considers there is any error at all in the lower...

    , determined by the type of case in question.
  • Federal judges serve for life
    Life tenure
    A life tenure or service during good behaviour is a term of office that lasts for the office holder's lifetime , unless the office holder is removed from office for cause under extraordinary circumstances or chooses to resign.Judges and members of some upper chambers have life tenure...


  • Belgium: complex model

    Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     is currently a federated state that has imposed the trias politica on different governmental levels. The constitution of 1831 - which was considered one of the most liberal of its time - limited the powers of its monarch and imposed a rigorous system of separation of powers:
    • principles of the Belgian structure

    Trias politica ( horizontal separation of powers ), Subsidiarity ( vertical separation of powers ) and Secularism ( separation of state and religion)
    • Horizontal separation of powers
      • the legislative power was attributed to an elected parliamentary body elected with a representative general election system (one person one vote);
      • the executive power was attributed to the Council of Ministers, the ministers are appointed by the King; Ministers are usually chosen from the elected members of parliament, however they resign form their elected seat, also non-elected people can be nominated minister.
      • the judicial power is in the hands of the courts, Magistrates are nominated in by the minister (on proposal from a Council of the Magistrates),
        • Magistrates can be nominated to become Judge (sitting magistrates) or Instructing judge (investigating judge) of Procureur (public prosecutor) (the standing magistrates)
        • the executive branch of the government is responsible to provide the physical means to execute its role (infrastructure, staff, financial means).
      • Judges and some other people cannot run for elected office while they are nominated to certain positions (i.e. military, police-officers, clergy, notaries, bailiff's).

        • The 1830 constitution was liberal in the sense that it imposed a limitation on the Monarch's powers, installed 3 independent political powers (next to the military power being subjected to the executive branch) and described a strict secularist notion of the state (separation between the state and the institutions of the (Catholic)church)
          • the Head of State (King) is politically incompetent and requires executive approval by a minister for every of his actions and his statements, he nominates the ministers but he doesn't choose them (his executive powers), he signs and decrees the laws voted in parliament (his legislative powers);
          • the head of state is commander in chief of the military (in title only), politically the military depends of the Minister of Defense and the chiefs of staff are responsible towards parliament and take their orders from the Minister of Defense and the government;
          • certain functions are deemed incompatible and as such people have to resign from their function if they want to assume responsibilities in another function (i.e. military commanders have never been government ministers, not even during war-time)

    • Vertical separation of powers

    The principle of Subsidiarity defines that the competence to make decisions is established at the most relevant (competent) level of government.
      • Supranational directives (EU-legislation) and international treaties are subjected to approval of the federal level (the federal level being Belgium the nationstate
      • the federal level is composed of
        • a bicameral parliament (House of Representative and Senate) (in 2014 this will be a directly elected house and an indirectly appointed Senate of the regions)
        • a federal government (lead by the Prime Minister, Ministers and Secretaries of State)
          • competent for Justice, Defense, Foreign Affairs, and National Social security, Public Health
        • High court, Constitutional court, Cassation court
      • the regional level is split likewise
        • a monocameral parliament
        • a regional government lead by the Minister-president (Ministers and Secretaries of State)
          • competent for regional matter
        • High court, Constitutional court, Cassation court
      • the provinces also have the same structure
        • a monocameral provincial council
        • a provincial governor assisted by deputies and a Arrondissements-comissaris
          • comptent for provincial matters
        • Appellate court, Assisses-court
      • the cities and communal entities
        • a city or communal council
        • a Mayor (burgemestre) assisted by Aldermen
          • competent for local matters
        • Magistrates court, Correctional court (3 judges)
        • Justice of the peace and Police-court judges (single judge courts)

    Costa Rica: three branches and two semi-branches

    As the aftermath of the 44-day civil war in 1948 (after former President and incumbent candidate Rafael Álgel Calderón Guardia tried to take power through fraud, by not recognising the results of the presidential election that he had lost), the question of which transformational model the Costa Rican State would follow was the main issue that confronted the victors. A Constituent Assembly was elected by popular vote to draw up a new constitution, enacted in 1949 and still in force. This document was an edit of the constitution of 1871, as the constituent assembly rejected more radical corporatist ideas proposed by the ruling Junta Fundadora de la Segunda República (which, although having come to power by military force, abolished the armed forces). Nonetheless, the new constitution increased centralization of power at the expense of municipalities and eliminated provincial government altogether, at the time it increased the powers of congress and the judiciary.

    It established the three supreme powers as the legislature, executive, and judicial branches, but also created two other autonomous state organs that have equivalent power but not equivalent rank. The first is the Supreme Elections Tribunal (electoral branch) which controls elections and makes unique, unappealable decisions on their outcomes.

    The second is the office of the Comptroller General
    Comptroller General
    Comptroller General or Comptroller-General or Controller General may refer to:* the Comptroller General of the United States, director of the Government Accountability Office* Comptroller General of Convicts...

     (audit branch), an autonomous and independent organ nominally subordinate to the unicameral legislative assembly. All budgets of ministries and municipalities must pass through this agency, including the execution of budget items such as contracting for routine operations. The Comptroller also provides financial vigilance over government offices and office holders, and routinely brings actions to remove mayors for malfeasance, firmly establishing this organization as the fifth branch of the Republic.

    European Union

    First, note that the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

     is a supranational polity, and is neither a country nor a federation; but as the EU wields political power, and is fully aware of its "democratic deficit", it attempts to comply with the principle of separation of powers. There are seven institutions of the European Union
    Institutions of the European Union
    The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

    . In intergovernmental matters, most power is concentrated in the Council of the European Union
    Council of the European Union
    The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

     – giving it the characteristics of a normal international organization
    International organization
    An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

    . Here, all power at EU level is in one branch. In the latter there are four main actors. The European Commission
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     acts as an independent executive which is appointed by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament; but the Commission also has a legislative role as the sole initiator of EU legislation. An early maxim was: "The Commission proposes and the Council disposes"; and although the EU's lawmaking procedure is now much more complicated, this simple maxim still holds some truth. As well as both executive and legislative functions, the Commission arguably exercises a third, quasi-judicial, function under Articles 81 & 82 (competition law ); although the ECJ remains the final arbiter. The European Parliament
    European Parliament
    The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

     is one half of the legislative branch and is directly elected. The Council itself acts both as the second half of the legislative branch and also holds some executive functions (some of which are exercised by the related European Council
    European Council
    The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

     in practice). The European Court of Justice
    European Court of Justice
    The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

     acts as the independent judicial branch, interpreting EU law and treaties. The remaining institution, the European Court of Auditors
    European Court of Auditors
    The Court of Auditors is the fifth institution of the European Union . It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg to audit the accounts of EU institutions...

    , is an independent audit authority (due to the sensitive nature of fraud in the EU).
    • Council of the European Union
      Council of the European Union
      The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

       – legislative and executive
    • European Commission
      European Commission
      The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

       – executive, legislative and quasi-judicial
    • European Council
      European Council
      The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

       – executive
    • European Court of Auditors
      European Court of Auditors
      The Court of Auditors is the fifth institution of the European Union . It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg to audit the accounts of EU institutions...

       – audit
    • European Court of Justice
      European Court of Justice
      The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

       – judicial
    • European Parliament
      European Parliament
      The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

       – legislative

    Germany: three branches and six bodies

    The six main bodies enshrined in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
    Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
    The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of Germany. It was formally approved on 8 May 1949, and, with the signature of the Allies of World War II on 12 May, came into effect on 23 May, as the constitution of those states of West Germany that were initially included...

     are:
    • Federal President (Bundespräsident
      President of Germany
      The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

      ) - executive
    • Federal Cabinet (Bundesregierung) - executive
    • Federal Diet (Bundestag
      Bundestag
      The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

      ) & Federal Council (Bundesrat
      Bundesrat of Germany
      The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

      ) - legislative
    • Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung
      Bundesversammlung (Germany)
      The Federal Convention is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing the German Federal President , either every five years or within 30 days of a president's resignation, death or removal from office.The Bundesversammlung includes the entire...

      ) - presidential electoral college
    • Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) - judiciary


    The Bundesversammlung is primarily constituted of members of the Bundestag and in the same count by the Parliaments of the States (mostly called "Landtag") elected Electors.

    Besides the constitutional court the judicial branch at the federal level is made up of five supreme courts — one for civil and criminal cases (Bundesgerichtshof), and one each for administrative, tax, labour, and social security issues. There are also state (Länder / Bundesländer
    States of Germany
    Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

    ) based courts beneath them, and a rarely used senate of the supreme courts.

    Hungary: four branches and six bodies

    The four independent branches of power in Hungary are: the parliament (legislative), the government (executive), the court system (judiciary) and the office of the public accuser (i.e. prosecutor general).
    • Parliament (Magyar Országgyűlés): elected every 4 years by the people in a highly complex, two-round voting system
    • Government (Magyar Kormány): installed and removed by 50%+1 basic majority vote of the parliament, 4 year terms
    • Supreme Court (Legfelsőbb Bíróság): Chief justice elected by qualified (2/3) majority of the parliament, no government oversight
    • Constitutional court (Alkotmánybíróság): members elected by qualified majority of the parliament for 8 years, this body nullifies laws and has no government oversight.
    • Chief public accuser (Legfőbb ügyész): elected by qualified majority of the parliament, 6 year terms, office budget fixed, no government oversight.
    • The President of the Republic (Köztársasági Elnök) is elected by qualified majority of the Hungarian parliament for 5 year terms (cannot be reelected more than once). He/she has ceremonial powers only, signs laws into power and commands the military in time of peace.


    The independent pillar status of the Hungarian public accuser's office is a unique construction, loosely modeled on the system Portugal introduced after the 1974 victory of the Carnation Revolution
    Carnation Revolution
    The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

    . The public accuser (attorney general) body has became the fourth column of Hungarian democracy only in recent times: after communism fell in 1989, the office was made independent by a new clausule XI. of the Constitution. The change was meant to prevent abuse of state power, especially with regards to the use of false accusations against opposition politicians, who may be excluded from elections if locked in protracted or excessively severe court cases.

    To prevent the Hungarian accuser's office from neglecting its duties, natural human private persons can submit investigation requests, called "pótmagánvád" directly to the courts, if the accusers' office refuses to do its job. Courts will decide if the allegations have merit and order police to act in lieu of the accuser's office if warranted. In its decision No.42/2005 the Hungarian constitutional court declared that the government does not enjoy such privilege and the state is powerless to further pursue cases if the public accuser refuses to do so.

    Republic of China: five branches

    According to Sun Yat-sen
    Sun Yat-sen
    Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

    's idea of "separation of the five powers", the government of the Republic of China has five branches:
    • Executive Yuan
      Executive Yuan
      The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China , commonly known as "Taiwan".-Organization and structure:...

       - led by the premier
      Premier of the Republic of China
      The President of the Executive Yuan , commonly known as the Premier of the Republic of China , is the head of the Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the Republic of China , which currently administers Taiwan, Matsu, and Kinmen. The premier is appointed by the President of the Republic of China...

       but in actuality it is the president
      President of the Republic of China
      The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

       who sets policy - executive
    • Legislative Yuan
      Legislative Yuan
      The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

       - unicameral - legislature
    • Judicial Yuan
      Judicial Yuan
      The Judicial Yuan is one of five branches of the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan and serves as the highest judicial organ in Republic of China. Its Justices of the Constitutional Court , with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution...

       - its Constitutional Court (highest) and Supreme Court
      Supreme Court of the Republic of China
      The Supreme Court of the Republic of China -History:In 1927, the government of the Republic of China renamed Dali Yuan to the Supreme Court...

       have different jurisdictions - judiciary
    • Control Yuan
      Control Yuan
      The Control Yuan , one of the five branches of the Republic of China government in Taipei, is an investigatory agency that monitors the other branches of government...

       - audit branch
    • Examination Yuan
      Examination Yuan
      The Examination Yuan is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants in the Republic of China . It is one of the five government branches of the ROC government...

       - civil service personnel management and human resources


    The president and vice president
    Vice President of the Republic of China
    The Vice President of the Republic of China is the second-highest executive official of the Republic of China . The existing office was created in 1948 under the 1947 Constitution of the Republic of China...

     as well as the defunct National Assembly
    National Assembly of the Republic of China
    The National Assembly of the Republic of China refers to several parliamentary bodies that existed in the Republic of China. The National Assembly was originally founded in 1913 as the first legislature in Chinese history, but was disbanded less than a year later as President Yuan Shikai assumed...

     are constitutionally not part of the above five branches. Before being abolished in 2005, the National Assembly was a constitutional convention
    Constitutional convention (political meeting)
    A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution...

     and electoral college
    Electoral college
    An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations or entities, with each organization or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way...

     for the president and vice president. Its constitutional amending powers were passed to the legislative yuan and its electoral powers were passed to the electorate.

    The relationship between the executive and legislative branches are poorly defined. An example of the problems this causes is the near complete political paralysis that results when the president, who has neither the power to veto nor the ability to dissolve the legislature and call new elections, cannot negotiate with the legislature when his party is in the minority. The examination and control yuans are marginal branches; their leaders as well as the leaders of the executive and judicial yuans are appointed by the president and confirmed by the legislative yuan. The legislature is the only branch that chooses its own leadership. The vice president has practically no responsibilities.

    See also

    • Absolute power
      Autocracy
      An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

    • Balance of power (federalism)
      Balance of power (federalism)
      In federations, the balance of power is the degree to which power is centralized in the federal government or devolved to the subnational governments. In confederations , it is more likely that the balance of power will be in favour of the sub-national level of government . Canada is an example of...

    • Power sharing
      Consociationalism
      Consociationalism is a form of government involving guaranteed group representation, and is often suggested for managing conflict in deeply divided societies...

    • Constitution of the Roman Republic
      Constitution of the Roman Republic
      The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving...

    • Constitutionalism
      Constitutionalism
      Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

    • Constitutional economics
      Constitutional economics
      Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

    • Corruption Perceptions Index
      Corruption Perceptions Index
      Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

       - Parliamentary systems are, in general, perceived as less corrupt than other systems
    • Fifth power
      Fifth power
      The fifth power is a term, apparently created by Ignacio Ramonet, that intends a continuation of the series of three classic branches of Baron de Montesquieu's separation of powers and the fourth power, the mass media...

    • Fusion of powers
      Fusion of powers
      Fusion of powers is a feature of parliamentary democracies, wherein the executive and legislative branches are intermingled. It is often contrasted with the more strict separation of powers found in the presidential democracies. Fusion of powers exists in many, if not a majority, of democracies...

    • Independence of the judiciary
    • Judicial activism
      Judicial activism
      Judicial activism describes judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. The definition of judicial activism, and which specific decisions are activist, is a controversial...

    • Legal reform
    • Mixed government
      Mixed government
      Mixed government, also known as a mixed constitution, is a form of government that integrates elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. In a mixed government, some issues are decided by the majority of the people, some other issues by few, and some other issues by a single person...

    • List

    of democracy and elections-related topics
    • Pith and substance
      Pith and substance
      Pith and substance is a legal doctrine in Canadian constitutional interpretation used to determine under which head of power a given piece of legislation falls...

    • Reserve power
      Reserve power
      In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the...

       - powers exercisable by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government
    • Rule of Law
      Rule of law
      The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

    • Rule According to Higher Law
      Rule according to higher law
      The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice...

    • Separation of duties
      Separation of duties
      Separation of duties is the concept of having more than one person required to complete a task. In business the separation by sharing of more than one individual in one single task shall prevent from fraud and error. The concept is alternatively called segregation of duties or, in the political...

    • Signing statement
      Signing statement
      A signing statement is a written pronouncement issued by the President of the United States upon the signing of a bill into law. They are usually printed along with the bill in United States Code Congressional and Administrative News ....

    • Unitary executive theory
      Unitary executive theory
      The unitary executive theory is a theory of American constitutional law holding that the President controls the entire executive branch. The doctrine is based upon Article Two of the United States Constitution, which vests "the executive power" of the United States in the President.Although that...


    Further reading


    External links

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