List of forms of government

Forms of government by power structure

Term Definition
Unitary State A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 are governed as unitary states.
Federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.
Confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign states, united for purposes of common action often in relation to other states. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign relations, internal trade or currency, with the general government being required to provide support for all its members. Confederalism represents a main form of inter-governmentalism, this being defined as ‘any form of interaction between states which takes place on the basis of sovereign independence or government.
Anarchy A society without a publicly enforced government or political authority.[1][2] Sometimes said to be non-governance; it is a structure which strives for non-hierarchical, voluntary associations among agents. Anarchy is a situation where there is no state. When used in this sense, anarchy may[3] or may not[4]

This can be a natural, temporary result of civil war in a country, when an established state has been destroyed and the region is in a transitional period without definitive leadership.[5] Alternatively, it has been presented as a viable long term choice by individuals known as anarchists who oppose the state and other forms of coercive hierarchies. These individuals typically think people should organize in non-hierarchical, voluntary associations where people voluntarily help each other.[6] There are a variety of forms of anarchy that attempt to avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society.[7][8]


Other Languages