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Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established.It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level.It represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state.
Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area.
A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create administrative divisions. Such units exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers. A large majority of the world's states have a unitary system of government.
Leading examples of the federation or federal state include India, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina, and Australia. Some also today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states.
A federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). 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. It is often argued that federal states where the central government has the constitutional authority to suspend a constituent state's government by invoking gross mismanagement or civil unrest, or to adopt national legislation that overrides or infringe on the constituent states' powers by invoking the central government's constitutional authority to ensure "peace and good government" or to implement obligations contracted under an international treaty, are not truly federal states.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.
The terms 'federalism' and 'confederalism' both have a root in the Latin word foedus, meaning "treaty, pact or covenant." Their common meaning until the late eighteenth century was a simple league or inter-governmental relationship among sovereign states based upon a treaty. They were therefore initially synonyms. It was in this sense that James Madison in Federalist 39 had referred to the new US Constitution as 'neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both' (i.e. neither constituting a single large unitary state nor a league/confederation among several small states, but a hybrid of the two).In the course of the nineteenth century the meaning of federalism would come to shift, strengthening to refer uniquely to the novel compound political form established, while the meaning of confederalism would remain at a league of states. Thus, this article relates to the modern usage of the word 'federalism'.
Modern federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments. The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world depending on context.
Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.
The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties; its members or supporters called themselves Federalists.
Federalism is sometimes viewed as in the context of international negotiation as "the best system for integrating diverse nations, ethnic groups, or combatant parties, all of whom may have cause to fear control by an overly powerful center."However, in some countries, those skeptical of federal prescriptions believe that increased regional autonomy is likely to lead to secession or dissolution of the nation. In Syria, federalization proposals have failed in part because "Syrians fear that these borders could turn out to be the same as the ones that the fighting parties have currently carved out."
Federations such as Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia collapsed as soon as it was possible to put the model to the test.
According to Daniel Ziblatt's Structuring the State, there are four competing theoretical explanations in the academic literature for the adoption of federal systems:
Immanuel Kant was an advocate of federalism, noting that "the problem of setting up a state can be solved even by a nation of devils" so long as they possess an appropriate constitution which pits opposing factions against each other with a system of checks and balances. In particular individual states required a federation as a safeguard against the possibility of war.
On the 1st of January 1901 the nation-state of Australia officially came into existence as a federation. The Australian continent was colonised by the United Kingdom in 1788, which subsequently established six, eventually self-governing, colonies there. In the 1890s the governments of these colonies all held referendums on becoming the unified, self-governing "Commonwealth of Australia" within the British Empire. When all the colonies voted in favour of federation, the Federation of Australia commenced, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The model of Australian federalism adheres closely to the original model of the United States of America, although it does so through a parliamentary Westminster system rather than a presidential system.
In Brazil, the fall of the monarchy in 1889 by a military coup d'état led to the rise of the presidential system, headed by Deodoro da Fonseca. Aided by well-known jurist Ruy Barbosa, Fonseca established federalism in Brazil by decree, but this system of government would be confirmed by every Brazilian constitution since 1891, although some of them would distort some of the federalist principles. The 1937 federal government had the authority to appoint State Governors (called intervenors) at will, thus centralizing power in the hands of President Getúlio Vargas. Brazil also uses the Fonseca system to regulate interstate trade. Brazil is one of the biggest federal governments.
The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 introduced a new component to the ideas of federalism, including municipalities as federal entities. Brazilian municipalities are now invested with some of the traditional powers usually granted to states in federalism, and they are allowed to adopt a constitution.
In Canada the system of federalism is described by the division of powers between the federal parliament and the country's provincial governments. Under the Constitution Act (previously known as the British North America Act ) of 1867, specific powers of legislation are allotted. Section 91 of the constitution gives rise to federal authority for legislation, whereas section 92 gives rise to provincial powers.
For matters not directly dealt with in the constitution, the federal government retains residual powers; however, conflicts between the two levels of government, relating to which level has legislative jurisdiction over various matters, have been a longstanding and evolving issue. Areas being contested include legislation with respect to regulation of the economy, taxation, and natural resources.
The Government of India (referred to as the Union Government) was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of a federal union of 29 states and 7 union territories.
The government of India is based on a 3 tiered system, in which the Constitution of India delineates the subjects on which each tier of government has executive powers. The Constitution originally provided for a two-tier system of government, the Union Government (also known as the Central Government), representing the Union of India, and the State governments. Later, a third tier was added in the form of Panchayats and Municipalities. In the current arrangement, The Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution delimits the subjects of each level of governmental jurisdiction, dividing them into three lists:
A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that unlike many other forms of federalism, it is asymmetric.Article 370 makes special provisions for the state of Jammu and Kashmir as per its Instrument of Accession. Article 371 makes special provisions for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim as per their accession or state-hood deals. Also one more aspect of Indian federalism is system of President's Rule in which the central government (through its appointed Governor) takes control of state's administration for certain months when no party can form a government in the state or there is violent disturbance in the state.
Although the Constitution does not say so, India is now a multilingual federation.India has a multi-party system, with political allegiances frequently based on linguistic, regional and caste identities, necessitating coalition politics, especially at the Union level. India has generally two main groups known as the NDA and the UPA and the third group known as the Left Front.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria has various states which have evolved over time due to complex socioeconomic issues as well as the effect of their colonial era. However, in modern Nigeria there are thirty six states and one federal capital territory: Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). There has been significant tension between the southern states and the northern states due to financial inequality, ethnic differences, religious conflict, and more. For example, religious conflict has led to the rise of Boko Haram, a violent Islamist militant group which practices salafi jihadism and wahhabism. In recent times, the Nigerian government has often been accused of being a northern-dominated government that seeks to exploit the south and benefit the north to the detriment of the south.[ citation needed ]
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy.
Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic, with Islam as the state religion.Powers are shared between the federal government and the provinces. Relations between federation and provinces is defined in Part V(Articles 141-159) of the constitution.
Pakistan consists of four provinces and three territories, including the Islamabad Capital Territory.
There are several levels of government in Pakistan:
| Division |
(e.g. Rawalpindi Division)
| District |
(e.g. Jhelum District)
| Tehsil |
| Union Council |
The District Coordination Officer is the administrative head of the District Administration. They have wide-ranging responsibility for overseeing, improving and directing the approved plans of the District Government.
The Zila Nazim used to be the executive head of the District Administration until 2010 when the government gave their powers to the District Coordination Officers also. Their role is similar to district governor or prefect, with responsibility for implementing government strategy and developing initiatives arising out of it.
In order to decentralize administrative and financial authority to be accountable to Local Governments, for good governance, effective delivery of services and transparent decision making through institutionalized participation of the people at grassroots level, elections to the local government institutions are held after every four years on none party basis by the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan.
Among the three tiers of local government, Tesil government is second tier of it. It is where the functions, responsibilities and authorities of districts government is divided into more smaller units, these units are known as "Tehsil". The Tehsils are used in all over the Pakistan except Sindh province where the word "Taluka" is used instead, although the functions and authorities are same. The head of the Tehsil government is "Tehsil Nazim" who is assisted by the tehsil Naib-Nazim. Every tehsil has a Tehsil Municipal Administration, consisting of a Tehsil council, Tehsil Nazim, tehsil/taluka municipal officer(TMO), Chief officer and other officials of local council.[ citation needed ]
Members of Union Council including Union Administrator and Vice Union Administrator are elected through direct elections based on adult franchise and on the basis of joint electorate. However, for the election to the reserved seats for Women in Zila Council proportionately divided among Tehsils or Towns shall be all members of the Union Councils in a Tehsil or Town. It is the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner to organize and conduct these elections.
Although South Africa bears some elements of a federal system, such as the allocation of certain powers to provinces, it is nevertheless constitutionally and functionally a unitary state.
Several federal systems exist in Europe, such as in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union.
In Britain, an Imperial Federation was once seen as (inter alia) a method of solving the Home Rule problem in Ireland; federalism has long been proposed[ by whom? ] as a solution to the "Irish Problem", and more lately, to the "West Lothian question".
During the French Revolution, especially in 1793, "federalism" had an entirely different meaning. It was a political movement to weaken the central government in Paris by devolving power to the provinces.
Following the end of World War II, several movements began advocating a European federation, such as the Union of European Federalists and the European Movement, founded in 1948. Those organizations exercised influence in the European unification process, but never in a decisive way.[ citation needed ]
Although the drafts of both the Maastricht treaty and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe mentioned federalism, the reference never made it to the text of the treaties adopted by consensus. The strongest advocates of European federalism have been Germany, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg while those historically most strongly opposed have been the United Kingdom, Denmark and France (with conservative heads of state and governments).[ citation needed ] Since the presidency of François Mitterrand (1981-1995), the French authorities have adopted a much more pro-European Unification position, as they consider that a strong EU is presenting the best "insurance" against a unified Germany which might become too strong and thus a threat for its neighbours.
Those uncomfortable using the “F” word in the EU context should feel free to refer to it as a quasi-federal or federal-like system. Nevertheless, for the purposes of the analysis here, the EU has the necessary attributes of a federal system. It is striking that while many scholars of the EU continue to resist analyzing it as a federation, most contemporary students of federalism view the EU as a federal system (See for instance, Bednar, Filippov et al., McKay, Kelemen, Defigueido and Weingast). (R. Daniel Kelemen)
Germany and the EU present the only examples of federalism in the world where members of the federal "upper houses" (the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) and the European Council ) are neither elected nor appointed but comprise members or delegates of the governments of their constituents. The United States had a similar system until 1913, where prior to the 17th Amendment, Senators were delegates of the state elected by the state legislatures rather than the citizens.
Already the Holy Roman Empire, the Confederation of the Rhine, the German Confederation, the North German Confederation, the German Empire and the Weimar Republic were federal complexes of territories of different political structures. Modern Germany abandoned federalism only during Nazism (1933–1945, only de facto but not de jure) and in the German Democratic Republic (1952–1990). Adolf Hitler viewed federalism as an obstacle to his goals. As he wrote in Mein Kampf , "National Socialism must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard to what were hitherto the confines of federal states."[ page needed ]
Accordingly, the idea of a strong, centralized government has very negative connotations in German politics, although the progressive political movements in Germany (Liberals, Social Democrats) were advocating at the time of the Second German Empire (1871-1918) to abolish (or to reshape) the majority of German federated states of that era, as they were considered to be mostly monarchist remnances of the feudal structures of the Middle Ages.
The post-Imperial nature of Russian subdivision of government changed towards a generally autonomous model which began with the establishment of the USSR (of which Russia was governed as part). It was liberalized in the aftermath of the Soviet Union, with the reforms under Boris Yeltsin preserving much of the Soviet structure while applying increasingly liberal reforms to the governance of the constituent republics and subjects (while also coming into conflict with Chechen secessionist rebels during the Chechen War). Some of the reforms under Yeltsin were scaled back by Vladimir Putin.
All of Russia's subdivisional entities are known as subjects, with some smaller entities, such as the republics enjoying more autonomy than other subjects on account of having an extant presence of a culturally non-Russian ethnic minority or, in some cases, majority.
Currently, there are 85 federal subjects of Russia.
The UAE is a federal absolute monarchy of the six ruling families of the United Arab Emirates with Emir of each Emirate being an absolute monarch and the Emir of Abu Dhabi being also the President of the UAE.
Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States. American government has evolved from a system of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In "Federalist No. 46," James Madison asserted that the states and national government "are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers." Alexander Hamilton, writing in "Federalist No. 28," suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens' benefit: "If their [the peoples'] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress." (1)
Because the states were preexisting political entities, the U.S. Constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one section but it often mentions the rights and responsibilities of state governments and state officials in relation to the federal government. The federal government has certain express powers (also called enumerated powers ) which are powers spelled out in the Constitution, including the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law "necessary and proper" for the execution of its express powers. Other powers—the reserved powers —are reserved to the people or the states.The power delegated to the federal government was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments—as well as the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates of the federal government.
The Federalist Party of the United States was opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, including powerful figures such as Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed that: the Legislature had too much power (mainly because of the Necessary and Proper Clause) and that they were unchecked; the Executive had too much power, and that there was no check on the executive; a dictator would arise; and that a bill of rights should be coupled with the constitution to prevent a potential dictator from exploiting or tyrannizing citizens. The federalists, on the other hand, argued that it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be decided by the judicial system of courts.
After the American Civil War, the federal government increased greatly in influence on everyday life and in size relative to the state governments. Reasons included the need to regulate businesses and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
From 1938 until 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court did not invalidate any federal statute as exceeding Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. Most actions by the federal government can find some legal support among the express powers, such as the Commerce Clause, whose applicability has been narrowed by the Supreme Court in recent years. In 1995 the Supreme Court rejected the Gun-Free School Zones Act in the Lopez decision, and also rejected the civil remedy portion of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 in the United States v. Morrison decision. Recently, the Commerce Clause was interpreted to include marijuana laws in the Gonzales v. Raich decision.
Dual federalism holds that the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign.
However, since the Civil War Era, the national courts often interpret the federal government as the final judge of its own powers under dual federalism. The establishment of Native American governments (which are separate and distinct from state and federal government) exercising limited powers of sovereignty, has given rise to the concept of "bi-federalism."
The Federal War ended in 1863 with the signing of the Treaty of Coche by both the centralist government of the time and the Federal Forces. The United States of Venezuela were subsequently incorporated under a "Federation of Sovereign States" upon principles borrowed from the Articles of Confederation of the United States of America. In this Federation, each State had a "President" of its own that controlled almost every issue, even the creation of "State Armies," while the Federal Army was required to obtain presidential permission to enter any given state.
However, more than 140 years later, the original system has gradually evolved into a quasi-centralist form of government. While the 1999 Constitution still defines Venezuela as a Federal Republic, it abolished the Senate, transferred competences of the States to the Federal Government and granted the President of the Republic vast powers to intervene in the States and Municipalities.
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Federalism in the Kingdom of Belgium is an evolving system.
Belgian federalism is a twin system which reflects both the
On one hand, this means that the Belgian political landscape, generally speaking, consists of only two components: the Dutch-speaking population represented by Dutch-language political parties, and the majority populations of Wallonia and Brussels, represented by their French-speaking parties. The Brussels region emerges as a third component.This specific dual form of federalism, with the special position of Brussels, consequently has a number of political issues—even minor ones—that are being fought out over the Dutch/French-language political division. With such issues, a final decision is possible only in the form of a compromise. This tendency gives this dual federalism model a number of traits that generally are ascribed to confederalism, and makes the future of Belgian federalism contentious.
On the other hand, Belgian federalism is federated with three components. An affirmative resolution concerning Brussels' place in the federal system passed in the parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels.These resolutions passed against the desires of Dutch-speaking parties, who are generally in favour of a federal system with two components (i.e. the Dutch and French Communities of Belgium). However, the Flemish representatives in the Parliament of the Brussels Capital-Region voted in favour of the Brussels resolution, with the exception of one party. The chairman of the Walloon Parliament stated on July 17, 2008 that, "Brussels would take an attitude". Brussels' parliament passed the resolution on July 18, 2008:
This aspect of Belgian federalism helps to explain the difficulties of partition; Brussels, with its importance, is linked to both Wallonia and Flanders and vice versa. This situation, however, does not erase the traits of a confederation in the Belgian system.
Current examples of two-sided federalism:
Historical examples of two-sided federalism include:
It has been proposed in several unitary states to establish a federal system, for various reasons.
China is the largest unitary state in the world by both population and land area. Although China has had long periods of central rule for centuries, it is often argued that the unitary structure of the Chinese government is far too unwieldy to effectively and equitably manage the country's affairs. On the other hand, Chinese nationalists are suspicious of decentralization as a form of secessionism and a backdoor for national disunity; still others argue that the degree of autonomy given to provincial-level officials in the People's Republic of China amounts to a de facto federalism.
Shortly after the 2011 civil war, some people in Cyrenaica (in the eastern region of the country) began to call for the new regime to be federal, with the traditional three regions of Libya (Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan) being the constituent units. A group calling itself the "Cyrenaican Transitional Council" issued a declaration of autonomy on 6 March 2012; this move was rejected by the National Transitional Council in Tripoli.
The changes in the state structure that composes the national government in Naypyitaw and the state/regional governments and the federal negotiations between the national government and ethnic minority armed forces said to be the first step of federalism in Myanmar.Former president of Myanmar, Thein Sein supported the federalization of Myanmar as he said federalization can promote national stability.
The Philippines is a unitary state with some powers devolved to Local Government Units (LGUs) under the terms of the Local Government Code. There is also one autonomous region, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Over the years various modifications have been proposed to the Constitution of the Philippines, including possible transition to a federal system as part of a shift to a semi-presidential system. In 2004, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo established the Consultative Commission which suggested such a Charter Change but no action was taken by the Philippine Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution. The push for federalism was again revived under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.
Spain is a unitary state with a high level of decentralisation, often regarded as a federal system in all but name or a "federation without federalism".The country has been quoted as being "an extraordinarily decentralized country", with the central government accounting for just 18% of public spending, 38% for the regional governments, 13% for the local councils, and the remaining 31% for the social security system. The current Spanish constitution has been implemented in such a way that, in many respects, Spain can be compared to countries which are undeniably federal.
However, in order to manage the tensions present in the Spanish transition to democracy, the drafters of the current Spanish constitution avoided giving labels such as 'federal' to the territorial arrangements.Besides, unlike in the federal system, the main taxes are taken centrally from Madrid (except for the Basque Country and Navarre, which were recognized in the Spanish democratic constitution as charter territories drawing from historical reasons) and then distributed to the Autonomous Communities.
An explicit and legal recognition of federalism as such has been promoted by parties such as Podemos, United Left and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. The Spanish Socialist party considered the idea of enshrining a federal Spain in 2012, as meeting point between separatist and recentralizing proposals.
Federalism has long been advocated as a means of resolving the ethnic issues and unbalanced development in Sri Lanka. As the unitary state has resulted in uneven development across Sri Lanka the Western Province dominates over the other 8 provinces. Despite declining regional disparity Western province continues to contribute most to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) contributing 42% of the GDP while the second highest the Southern Province only represents 10.8% of the GDP while Uva and Northern provinces representing the least with 5% and 3.6% respectively. Other provinces also have trouble attracting capitals. This has resulted in calls for the abolishing of the unitary system and powers being devolved.
The federalization of Syria has been proposed as a way to end the Syrian Civil War. [ citation needed ]In the broadest sense, it means turning the centralized Syrian Arab Republic into a federal republic with autonomous subdivisions. Many powers and actors involved in the Syrian Civil War have entertained the idea of "federal division", not least among them Russia, United Nations representatives, and the United States. President Bashar al-Assad has not ruled out the possibility of a federal democratic state of Syria. In particular, Turkey is strongly hostile towards the idea of a federalization of Syria because it fears possible repercussions for its own highly centralized state.
Due to the fact that federalization would more or less follow ethnic and possibly also religious-sectarian lines, it has been dismissed as "division of the country" and "Balkanization" by its opponents.Mainstream institutions of the Syrian opposition based in Turkey or Qatar like the Syrian National Council and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces have consistently rejected the idea of federalization, while in particular Kurds in Syria have promoted the idea. The Egypt-based opposition party Syria's Tomorrow Movement takes an intermediate position.
The United Kingdom has traditionally been governed as a unitary state by the Westminster Parliament in London. Instead of adopting a federal model, the UK has relied on gradual devolution to decentralise political power. Devolution in the UK began with the Government of Ireland Act 1914 which granted home rule to Ireland as a constituent country of the former United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland in 1921 which saw the creation of the sovereign Irish Free State (which eventually evolved into the modern day Republic of Ireland), Northern Ireland retained its devolved government through the Parliament of Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK to have such a body at this time. This body was suspended in 1972 and Northern Ireland was governed by direct rule during the period of conflict known as The Troubles.
In modern times, a process of devolution in the United Kingdom has decentralised power once again. Since the 1997 referendums in Scotland and Wales and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, three of the four constituent countries of the UK now have some level of autonomy. Government has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.England does not have its own parliament and English affairs continue to be decided by the Westminster Parliament. In 1998 a set of eight unelected Regional assemblies, or chambers, was created to support the English Regional Development Agencies, but these were abolished between 2008 and 2010. The Regions of England continue to be used in certain governmental administrative functions.
Critics of devolution often cite the West Lothian question, which refers to the voting power of non-English MPs on matters affecting only England in the UK Parliament. Scottish and Welsh nationalism have been increasing in popularity, and since the Scottish independence referendum, 2014 there has been a wider debate about the UK adopting a federal system with each of the four home nations having its own, equal devolved legislatures and law-making powers.
UK federal government was proposed as early as 1912 by the Member of Parliament for Dundee, Winston Churchill, in the context of the legislation for Irish Home Rule. In a speech in Dundee on 12 September, he proposed that England should also be governed by regional parliaments, with power devolved to areas such as Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands and London as part of a federal system of government.
In Europe, "Federalist" is sometimes used to describe those who favor a common federal government, with distributed power at regional, national and supranational levels. Most European federalists want this development to continue within the European Union.[ citation needed ] European federalism originated in post-war Europe; one of the more important initiatives was Winston Churchill's speech in Zürich in 1946.
In the United States, federalism originally referred to belief in a stronger central government. When the U.S. Constitution was being drafted, the Federalist Party supported a stronger central government, while "Anti-Federalists" wanted a weaker central government. This is very different from the modern usage of "federalism" in Europe and the United States. The distinction stems from the fact that "federalism" is situated in the middle of the political spectrum between a confederacy and a unitary state. The U.S. Constitution was written as a reaction to the Articles of Confederation, under which the United States was a loose confederation with a weak central government.
In contrast, Europe has a greater history of unitary states than North America, thus European "federalism" argues for a weaker central government, relative to a unitary state. The modern American usage of the word is much closer to the European sense. As the power of the Federal government has increased, some people[ who? ] have perceived a much more unitary state than they believe the Founding Fathers intended. Most people politically advocating "federalism" in the United States argue in favor of limiting the powers of the federal government, especially the judiciary (see Federalist Society, New Federalism).
In Canada, federalism typically implies opposition to sovereigntist movements (most commonly Quebec separatism).
The governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, and Mexico, among others, are also organized along federalist principles.
Federalism may encompass as few as two or three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In general, two extremes of federalism can be distinguished: at one extreme, the strong federal state is almost completely unitary, with few powers reserved for local governments; while at the other extreme, the national government may be a federal state in name only, being a confederation in actuality.
In 1999, the Government of Canada established the Forum of Federations as an international network for exchange of best practices among federal and federalizing countries. Headquartered in Ottawa, the Forum of Federations partner governments include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Switzerland.
Anarchists are against the State but are not against political organization or "governance"—so long as it is self-governance utilizing direct democracy. The mode of political organization preferred by anarchists, in general, is federalism or confederalism. However, the anarchist definition of federalism tends to differ from the definition of federalism assumed by pro-state political scientists. The following is a brief description of federalism from section I.5 of An Anarchist FAQ :
Federalism also finds expression in ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church). For example, presbyterian church governance resembles parliamentary republicanism (a form of political federalism) to a large extent. In Presbyterian denominations, the local church is ruled by elected elders, some of which are ministerial. Each church then sends representatives or commissioners to presbyteries and further to a general assembly. Each greater level of assembly has ruling authority over its constituent members. In this governmental structure, each component has some level of sovereignty over itself. As in political federalism, in presbyterian ecclesiology there is shared sovereignty.
Other ecclesiologies also have significant representational and federalistic components, including the more anarchic congregational ecclesiology, and even in more hierarchical episcopal ecclesiology.
Some Christians argue that the earliest source of political federalism (or federalism in human institutions; in contrast to theological federalism) is the ecclesiastical federalism found in the Bible. They point to the structure of the early Christian Church as described (and prescribed, as believed by many) in the New Testament. In their arguments, this is particularly demonstrated in the Council of Jerusalem, described in Acts chapter 15, where the Apostles and elders gathered together to govern the Church; the Apostles being representatives of the universal Church, and elders being such for the local church. To this day, elements of federalism can be found in almost every Christian denomination, some more than others.
In a federation, the division of power between federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution. Almost every country allows some degree of regional self-government, in federations the right to self-government of the component states is constitutionally entrenched. Component states often also possess their own constitutions which they may amend as they see fit, although in the event of conflict the federal constitution usually takes precedence.
In almost all federations the central government enjoys the powers of foreign policy and national defense as exclusive federal powers. Were this not the case a federation would not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany retain the right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange for the Kingdom of Bavaria's agreement to join the German Empire in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power varies from one nation to another. The constitutions of Germany and the United States provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states. The Constitution of some countries like Canada and India, on the other hand, state that powers not explicitly granted to the provincial governments are retained by the federal government. Much like the US system, the Australian Constitution allocates to the Federal government (the Commonwealth of Australia) the power to make laws about certain specified matters which were considered too difficult for the States to manage, so that the States retain all other areas of responsibility. Under the division of powers of the European Union in the Lisbon Treaty, powers which are not either exclusively of European competence or shared between EU and state as concurrent powers are retained by the constituent states.
Where every component state of a federation possesses the same powers, we are said to find 'symmetric federalism'. Asymmetric federalism exists where states are granted different powers, or some possess greater autonomy than others do. This is often done in recognition of the existence of a distinct culture in a particular region or regions. In Spain, the Basques and Catalans, as well as the Galicians, spearheaded a historic movement to have their national specificity recognized, crystallizing in the "historical communities" such as Navarre, Galicia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country. They have more powers than the later expanded arrangement for other Spanish regions, or the Spain of the autonomous communities (called also the "coffee for everyone" arrangement), partly to deal with their separate identity and to appease peripheral nationalist leanings, partly out of respect to specific rights they had held earlier in history. However, strictly speaking Spain is not a federalism, but a decentralized administrative organization of the state.
It is common that during the historical evolution of a federation there is a gradual movement of power from the component states to the centre, as the federal government acquires additional powers, sometimes to deal with unforeseen circumstances. The acquisition of new powers by a federal government may occur through formal constitutional amendment or simply through a broadening of the interpretation of a government's existing constitutional powers given by the courts.
Usually, a federation is formed at two levels: the central government and the regions (states, provinces, territories), and little to nothing is said about second or third level administrative political entities. Brazil is an exception, because the 1988 Constitution included the municipalities as autonomous political entities making the federation tripartite, encompassing the Union, the States, and the municipalities. Each state is divided into municipalities (municípios) with their own legislative council (câmara de vereadores) and a mayor (prefeito), which are partly autonomous from both Federal and State Government. Each municipality has a "little constitution", called "organic law" (lei orgânica). Mexico is an intermediate case, in that municipalities are granted full-autonomy by the federal constitution and their existence as autonomous entities (municipio libre, "free municipality") is established by the federal government and cannot be revoked by the states' constitutions. Moreover, the federal constitution determines which powers and competencies belong exclusively to the municipalities and not to the constituent states. However, municipalities do not have an elected legislative assembly.
Federations often employ the paradox of being a union of states, while still being states (or having aspects of statehood) in themselves. For example, James Madison (author of the US Constitution) wrote in Federalist Paper No. 39 that the US Constitution "is in strictness neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both. In its foundation, it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the Government are drawn, it is partly federal, and partly national..." This stems from the fact that states in the US maintain all sovereignty that they do not yield to the federation by their own consent. This was reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reserves all powers and rights that are not delegated to the Federal Government as left to the States and to the people.
The structures of most federal governments incorporate mechanisms to protect the rights of component states. One method, known as 'intrastate federalism', is to directly represent the governments of component states in federal political institutions. Where a federation has a bicameral legislature the upper house is often used to represent the component states while the lower house represents the people of the nation as a whole. A federal upper house may be based on a special scheme of apportionment, as is the case in the senates of the United States and Australia, where each state is represented by an equal number of senators irrespective of the size of its population.
Alternatively, or in addition to this practice, the members of an upper house may be indirectly elected by the government or legislature of the component states, as occurred in the United States prior to 1913, or be actual members or delegates of the state governments, as, for example, is the case in the German Bundesrat and in the Council of the European Union. The lower house of a federal legislature is usually directly elected, with apportionment in proportion to population, although states may sometimes still be guaranteed a certain minimum number of seats.
In Canada, the provincial governments represent regional interests and negotiate directly with the central government. A First Ministers conference of the prime minister and the provincial premiers is the de facto highest political forum in the land, although it is not mentioned in the constitution.
Federations often have special procedures for amendment of the federal constitution. As well as reflecting the federal structure of the state this may guarantee that the self-governing status of the component states cannot be abolished without their consent. An amendment to the constitution of the United States must be ratified by three-quarters of either the state legislatures, or of constitutional conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect. In referendums to amend the constitutions of Australia and Switzerland it is required that a proposal be endorsed not just by an overall majority of the electorate in the nation as a whole, but also by separate majorities in each of a majority of the states or cantons. In Australia, this latter requirement is known as a double majority.
Some federal constitutions also provide that certain constitutional amendments cannot occur without the unanimous consent of all states or of a particular state. The US constitution provides that no state may be deprived of equal representation in the senate without its consent. In Australia, if a proposed amendment will specifically impact one or more states, then it must be endorsed in the referendum held in each of those states. Any amendment to the Canadian constitution that would modify the role of the monarchy would require unanimous consent of the provinces. The German Basic Law provides that no amendment is admissible at all that would abolish the federal system.
The meaning of federalism, as a political movement, and of what constitutes a 'federalist', varies with country and historical context.[ citation needed ] Movements associated with the establishment or development of federations can exhibit either centralising or decentralising trends.[ citation needed ] For example, at the time those nations were being established, factions known as "federalists" in the United States and Australia advocated the formation of strong central government. Similarly, in European Union politics, federalists mostly seek greater EU integration. In contrast, in Spain and in post-war Germany, federal movements have sought decentralisation: the transfer of power from central authorities to local units. In Canada, where Quebec separatism has been a political force for several decades, the "federalist" impulse aims to keep Quebec inside Canada.
Federalism, and other forms of territorial autonomy, is generally seen[ by whom? ] as a useful way to structure political systems in order to prevent violence among different groups within countries because it allows certain groups to legislate at the subnational level. Some scholars have suggested, however, that federalism can divide countries and result in state collapse because it creates proto-states. Still others have shown that federalism is only divisive when it lacks mechanisms that encourage political parties to compete across regional boundaries.
After careful research and analysis of various sources and the constitution, it can be confirmed that the government system in the Republic of South Africa is a unitary system. Observance of the government in action as well as analysis of the constitution has contributed to this confirmation. Despite the delocalisation enjoyed within the republic, the federal principle is not evident enough and it failed Wheare’s very simple federal test right in the beginning
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The politics of Belgium take place in the framework of a federal, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy. The King of the Belgians is the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Belgium is the head of government, in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives. The federation is made up of (language-based) communities and (territorial) regions. Philippe is the seventh and current King of the Belgians, having ascended the throne on 21 July 2013.
Federalisation of the European Union is the institutional process by which the European Union (EU) is transformed from a confederation towards a federation. There is ongoing discussion about the extent to which the EU has already become a federation over the course of decades, and more importantly, to what degree it should continue to evolve into a federalist direction.
New Federalism is a political philosophy of devolution, or the transfer of certain powers from the United States federal government back to the states. The primary objective of New Federalism, unlike that of the eighteenth-century political philosophy of Federalism, is the restoration to the states of some of the autonomy and power which they lost to the federal government as a consequence of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.
A federated state is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. Such states differ from fully sovereign states, in that they do not have full sovereign powers, as the sovereign powers have been divided between the federated states and the central or federal government. Importantly, federated states do not have standing as entities of international law. Instead, the federal union as a single entity is the sovereign state for purposes of international law. Depending on the constitutional structure of a particular federation, a federated state can hold various degrees of legislative, judicial and administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory and is a form of regional government.
A confederation 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.
A state government is the government of a country subdivision in a federal form of government, which shares political power with the federal or national government. A state government may have some level of political autonomy, or be subject to the direct control of the federal government. This relationship may be defined by a constitution.
In politics, regionalism is a political ideology focusing on the "development of a political or social system based on one or more" regions and/or the national, normative or economic interests of a specific region, group of regions or another subnational entity, gaining strength from or aiming to strengthen the "consciousness of and loyalty to a distinct region with a homogeneous population", similarly to nationalism. More specifically, "regionalism refers to three distinct elements: movements demanding territorial autonomy within unitary states; the organization of the central state on a regional basis for the delivery of its policies including regional development policies; political decentralization and regional autonomy".
Belgian nationalism, sometimes pejoratively referred to as Belgicism, is a nationalist ideology. In its modern form it favours the reversal of federalism and the creation of a unitary state in Belgium. The ideology advocates reduced or no autonomy for the Flemish Community who constitute Flanders, the French Community of Belgium and the German-speaking Community of Belgium who constitute Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region which is inhabited by both Walloons and Flemings, and the dissolution of the regional counterparts of each ethnic group within Belgium.
A central government is the government that holds absolute supremacy over a unitary state. Its equivalent in a federation is the federal government, which may have distinct powers at various levels authorized or delegated to it by its federated states, though the adjective 'central' is sometimes also used to describe it.
Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation or confederation in which different constituent states possess different powers: one or more of the substates has considerably more autonomy than the other substates, although they have the same constitutional status. The division of powers between substates is not symmetric. This is in contrast to symmetric federalism, where no distinction is made between constituent states. As a result, it is frequently proposed as a solution to the dissatisfactions that arise when one or two constituent units feel significantly different needs from the others, as the result of an ethnic, linguistic or cultural difference.
Federalism in the United States, also referred to as the doctrine of shared sovereignty, is the constitutional division of power between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national government. The progression of federalism includes dual, state-centered, and new federalism.
Dual federalism, also known as layer-cake federalism or divided sovereignty, is a political arrangement in which power is divided between the federal and state governments in clearly defined terms, with state governments exercising those powers accorded to them without interference from the federal government. Dual federalism is defined in contrast to cooperative federalism, in which federal and state governments collaborate on policy.
Symmetric federalism refers to a federal system of government in which each constituent state to the federation possess equal powers. In a symmetric federalism no distinction is made between constituent states. This is in contrast to an asymmetric federalism, where a distinction is made between constituent states.
The Federal government of Mexico is the national government of the United Mexican States, the central government established by its constitution to share sovereignty over the republic with the governments of the 31 individual Mexican states, and to represent such governments before international bodies such as the United Nations. The Mexican federal government has three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial and functions per the Constitution of the United Mexican States, as enacted in 1917, and as amended. == The executive power is exercised by the executive branch, which is headed by the president and his Cabinet, which, together, are independent of the legislature. Legislative power is vested upon the Congress of the Union, a bicameral legislature comprising the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Judicial power is exercised by the judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the Council of the Federal Judiciary, and the collegiate, unitary, and district courts.
The European Federalist Party is a European political party founded on 6 November 2011 in Paris. It is the result of the reunification of the Federalist Party of France and the Europe United Party which had a presence in several countries of the European Union. It is one of the first European-oriented political parties that openly defends European federalism and is not a coalition of pre-existing national parties.
Ethnic federalism is a federal system of national government in which the federated units are defined according to ethnicity. Related terms are multi-ethnic federalism and ethnofederalism.