List of presidential, parliamentary and other countries

Here is my list of presidential, parliamentary and other regimes as of 22 April 2017. A list of countries with semi-presidential constitutions is posted separately.

Presidential
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina
Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi
Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Rep. of Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus
Djibouti, Dominican Rep.
Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea
Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana
Honduras
Indonesia
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Rep. of Korea
Liberia
Malawi, Maldives, Mexico
Nicaragua, Nigeria
Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines
Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey
Uganda, USA, Uruguay, Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Zimbabwe

Parliamentary (M = Monarchy, R = Republic)
Albania (R), Andorra (M), Antigua & Barbuda (M), Australia (M)
Bahamas (M), Bahrain (M), Bangladesh (R), Barbados (M), Belgium (M), Belize (M), Bhutan (M)
Cambodia (M), Canada (M)
Denmark (M), Dominica (R)
Estonia (R), Ethiopia (R)
Fiji (R)
Germany (R), Greece (R), Grenada (M)
Hungary (R)
India (R), Iraq (R), Israel (R), Italy (R)
Jamaica (M), Japan (M), Jordan (M)
Kuwait (M)
Lao PDR (R), Latvia (R), Lebanon (R), Lesotho (M), Liechtenstein (M), Luxembourg (M)
Malaysia (M), Malta (R), Mauritius (R), Monaco (M), Morocco (M)
Nepal (R), Netherlands (M), New Zealand (M), Norway (M)
Pakistan (R), Papua New Guinea (M)
St Kitts & Nevis (M), St Lucia (M), St Vincent & the Grenadines (M), Samoa (M), Solomon Islands (M), Somalia (R), Spain (M), Swaziland (M), Sweden (M)
Thailand (M), Trinidad & Tobago (R), Tuvalu (M)
UK (M)
Vanuatu (R)

Presidentialism (i.e. popular presidential election) with no PM but cabinet accountability
Zambia

Presidentialism (i.e. popular presidential election) but president accountability to legislature but not cabinet
Gambia

Parliamentarism (i.e election of the president by the legislature) with no PM and no head of state/govt accountability and no cabinet accountability
Eritrea, Micronesia, Suriname, Switzerland

Parliamentarism (i.e election of the president by the legislature) with no PM but head of state/govt accountability and cabinet accountability
Botswana, Cuba, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, South Africa

Parliamentarism (i.e election of the president by the legislature) with head of state, PM and cabinet accountability
Vietnam

Monarchy
Brunei, Monaco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tonga, UAE

Other
Bosnia & Herz., China, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, San Marino

Transitional
Libya, South Sudan

A broader statement of my philosophy about how regimes should be defined and the definitions themselves can be found at the link below.

The two basic definitional criteria are the method of selection of the head of state and whether or not the cabinet is responsible to the legislature. Obviously, other criteria could be used to refine the list of regimes further. So, for example, I use Shugart and Carey’s distinction between premier-presidential and president-parliamentary regimes to identify sub-types of semi-presidentialism. Here, though, I stick to the two criteria above, which is scientific standard.

The countries are classed on the basis of their current constitution. Bear in mind that the list does not take into account whether a country is democratic. For example, in Bahrain there is a form of collective cabinet responsibility. That is to say, there is a constitutional process by which the legislature could bring down the government. The politics of Bahrain, not least the monarch-appointed chamber that forms one house of the legislature, means that this is very unlikely ever to happen. However, constitutionally, Bahrain meets the requirements for parliamentarism, even if it is unequivocally autocratic. To put it another way, some presidential countries are, in practice, more presidential than others. Some parliamentary countries are, in practice, more prime ministerial than others, etc. The definitions used here are not designed to capture political practice. They are designed to capture constitutional rules.

I welcome corrections and comments.

18 thoughts on “List of presidential, parliamentary and other countries

  1. Jo

    Do you have a list of parliamentary and presidential regimes with dates like you do for semi-presidential regimes?

    Reply
  2. David Boio

    Hi, Professor,

    My name is David, from Angola.

    I would like to know why do you Classify our regime as Presidential. As you know, we have not direct election for president; here, people call ours regime as “Parliamentar Presidentialism”, is it make sense to you?

    Best,

    David

    Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Hi David,
      Thanks for the comment. As I understand it, the only difference between the 2010 Angolan system and a standard presidential system is that the presidential election is not separate from the legislative election. Instead, the president is the person who heads the party list that received the most votes in the legislative election. This is what happens in Guyana too, I think. So, yes, Angola could be classed as something different because there is no separate election. However, there is no PM. The cabinet is not accountable to the legislature. Also, I believe that the election date is fixed i.e. the legislature cannot be dissolved and unlike Gambia the president cannot be dismissed except by impeachment. If all of this is right, then I am not sure that there is anything really parliamentary about the new system. So, I tend to class it as presidential.
      Robert

      Reply
  3. Ko

    Hello.
    Will you please explain why you classify Singapore as presidential? I think the president is largely ceremonial and the prime minister heads the cabinet there.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Dear Ko,

      Many thanks for your question.

      As you may know, I have found Singapore very difficult to classify, sometimes including it in a list of semi-presidential countries but now excluding it. So, this is the current version of my logic. If it is mistaken, then please let me know.

      For me, the power of the president is not relevant to a definition of regimes. So, semi-presidential regimes include countries with both very weak presidents and very strong presidents. Therefore, the weakness of the Singapore president, to me, is not important for classification reasons. Instead, I classify only by constitutional rules.

      As regards Singapore, It seems to me that the key clause of the Constitution is Art 26 1 b, which states that the PM’s tenure is ended: “if the President, acting in his discretion, is satisfied that the Prime Minister has ceased to command the confidence of a majority of the Members of Parliament”. Now, that could be interpreted as saying that the PM is responsible to the legislature and, therefore, Singapore is semi-presidential, or it could be interpreted as saying that the president “in his discretion” is solely responsible for deciding whether or not the PM has to resign. If so, then Singapore is not semi-presidential. On this latter reading, if the president is the person who makes the final decision and not the legislature, then the cabinet is responsible only to the president and not the legislature. Therefore, Singapore is presidential.

      I think Singapore is very difficult to classify not just because of this clause, but because it is the only clause that seems to be relevant to the way I classify regimes. Most constitutions have additional clauses that tell you how to classify a country. However, in the Singapore constitution there is no mention of government responsibility, or censure motions etc under the section on the legislature. Yet, this would be standard in most other parliamentary or semi-presidential regimes.

      So, overall, Singapore is difficult to classify constitutionally. It is not a standard US-style presidential regime. I don’t think it is quite a semi-presidential regime. It is not a Zambia-style one of a kind. I have to make a choice and I now class it as presidential, but I am aware it is problematic.

      So, that is why I currently class Singapore as presidential. I hope that helps.

      Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Hi Yuki,

      Yes, South Korea has both a president and a PM, but this is not a sufficient condition for semi-presidentialism. For there to be semi-presidentialism, the PM and cabinet must be collectively responsible to the legislature. In South Korea, there is only individual responsibility i.e. the legislature may vote for the dismissal of the PM individually. However, even then, in the case of South Korea the vote is only a recommendation. The president has complete constitutional freedom to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation. So, constitutionally the legislature cannot dismiss the PM and cabinet collectively or even the PM individually. This is why I now class South Kore as presidential, though I am the first to admit that I was confused about this situation for a while in some of my early writings.

      Thank you for the comment.

      Robert

      Reply
  4. Ko

    Hello. Thank you for maintaining this list.
    The president of Angola is not popularly elected, but the leader of the party with the largest number of votes in a legislative election becomes the president, according to Article 109 of the 2010 constitution. So isn’t it more like the South African or Botswanan system than a presidential system?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Bojana Kocijan

    Robert,

    Can you elaborate on presidential Cyprus, in my understanding, it has no PM, because there is a sort of a unified post called President, who performs executive duties. However, legislature oversees the executive, so wouldn’t Cyprus actually fit better under semi-presidential, although there is no PM, but still something that we would understand as PM in other countries is a part of the function of Cyprus president, especially that he establishes the cabinet?

    Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Cyprus is a classic presidential system at the moment. There is no PM and the government is not responsible to the legislature.

      Reply
  6. Pınar

    Hello,
    Is there any classification problem with Chech Rep.’s system? In your website it has been classified in both parliamentary and semipresidential (premier – presidential). I think Shugart and Carey’s typology introduce a new system for that kind of system as “parliamentary with president”. President is elected by people and has a political position. Turkish system is in the same definiton(parliamentary with president). Only change (in cons.) is about election of president, but it keeps parliamentary methods. Though current application has a misleading situation, in Turkey system is known as parliamentary.

    Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Most scholars have now dropped the ‘parliamentary with president’ category. The standard taxonomic distinction within semi-presidentialism is Shugart and Carey’s categories of president-parliamentarism and premier-presidentialism. The Czech Republic is an example of a premier-presidentialism, because the president does not have the power to dismiss the government, meaning that the government is solely responsible to the legislature.

      Reply
      1. Pınar

        Thank you for your answer . But you classify the Chech Republic above (http://www.semipresidentialism.com/?p=195) in the parliamentary group but it is in the Up-to-date list of semi-presidential countries with dates also (http://www.semipresidentialism.com/?p=1053) .
        I would like to show that you should take out Chech Republic from the parliamentary list.
        And one more thing about Armenia that should be semi-presidential from 2005 not 1995. Because Armenia government system was president-parliamentarism between 1995-2005. It has showed in Historic cases of president-parliamentarism (http://www.semipresidentialism.com/?p=220)

        I am using your website to code the systems of government for my research.
        Thank you very much for your work of grouping government systems and Presidential Power scores are very helpful for my reserach.

        Reply
        1. Robert Elgie Post author

          Thanks for pointing out the error regarding the Czech Republic. I have now updated the list of parliamentary countries. For Armenia, it has been semi-presidential since 1995. It simply changed its form of semi-presidentialism from president-parliamentary to premier-presidential in 2005. That is why it is included both in the list of current semi-presidential countries and in the list of historic president-parliamentary countries.

          Reply
  7. dillip kumar nayak

    Respected Robert Elgie,
    Nice to found your posted article.It is needed to update with changing constitutional system of Asian countries.

    Reply
  8. Ammar Maleki

    Hello
    I have a question regarding the regime type of Uruguay. The articles 147 and 148 of Uruguayan constitution say:

    “Article 147: Either of the Chambers may pass judgment on the conduct of Ministers of State by proposing that the General Assembly in joint session shall declare that their acts of administration or of government are censured.

    Article 148: The disapproval may be individual, plural, or collective, but in all cases it must be adopted by an absolute majority of the votes of the full membership of the General Assembly, at a special and public session. Individual disapproval is one that affects one Minister; plural disapproval one that affects more than one Minister; and collective disapproval is one that affects a majority of the Council of Ministers. Disapproval adopted in accordance with the foregoing articles shall mean the resignation of the Minister, the Ministers, or the Council of Ministers, as the case may be. The President of the Republic may veto the vote of disapproval whenever it has been adopted by less than two-thirds of the full membership of the body. . . If the General Assembly maintains its vote by less than three-fifths of its full membership, the President of the Republic, within the next forty-eight hours, may, by express decision, retain the censured Minister, Ministers, or Council of Ministers, and dissolve the Chambers.”

    The articles seem to offer the possibility of a “no-confidence” vote by assembly (Fish and Kroening (2009) have interpreted the articles in this way) which means that Uruguay has a semi-presidential regime. What do you think about this? Why is Uruguay considered a full presidential system despite of the presence of these articles?

    Thank you in advance
    Kind regards
    Ammar Maleki

    Reply
    1. Robert Elgie Post author

      Hi Ammar,
      It’s really interesting that there is collective responsibility. However, for me, Uruguay is not semi-presidential because there is no PM, or Presidente del Consejo de Ministros as in Peru. In Argentina there is a jefe de gabinete, but responsibility is only individual.
      Robert

      Reply

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