Republic, Sub-national republics

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Summary

A republic is a form of government in which power resides in the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law (from ), rather than inherited or appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch. Currently, 135 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names.

Details

In general being a republic also implies sovereignty as for the state to be ruled by the people it cannot be controlled by a foreign power. There are important exceptions to this, for example, republics in the Soviet Union were member states which had to meet three criteria to be named republics:

  1. be on the periphery of the Soviet Union so as to be able to take advantage of their theoretical right to secede;
  1. be economically strong enough to be self-sufficient upon secession; and
  1. be named after at least one million people of the ethnic group which should make up the majority population of said republic.

It is sometimes argued that the former Soviet Union was also a supra-national republic, based on the claim that the member states were different nations.

Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (and earlier names) was a federal entity composed of six republics (Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia). Each republic had its parliament, government, institute of citizenship, constitution, etc... but certain functions were delegated to the federation (army, monetary matters). Each republic also had a right of self-determination according to the conclusions of the second session of the AVNOJ and according to the federal constitution.

States of the United States are required, like the federal government, to be republican in form, with final authority resting with the people. This was required because the states were intended to create and enforce most domestic laws, with the exception of areas delegated to the federal government and prohibited to the states. The founding fathers of the country intended most domestic laws to be handled by the states. Requiring the states to be a republic in form was seen as protecting the citizens' rights and preventing a state from becoming a dictatorship or monarchy, and reflected unwillingness on the part of the original 13 states (all independent republics) to unite with other states that were not republics. Additionally, this requirement ensured that only other republics could join the union.

In the example of the United States, the original 13 British colonies became independent states after the American Revolution, each having a republican form of government. These independent states initially formed a loose confederation called the United States and then later formed the current United States by ratifying the current U.S. Constitution, creating a union of sovereign states with the union or federal government also being a republic. Any state joining the union later was also required to be a republic.

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