republic(redirected from Definition of Republic)
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See F. Hermens, The Representative Republic (1958) and Introduction to Modern Politics (1959).
a form of government under which all the highest bodies of state are either elected or are formed by national representative institutions (parliaments). The republic emerged in ancient times in opposition to monarchy; the slaveholding democracy in Athens is an example.
There are two main types of bourgeois republics: presidential and parliamentary. In presidential republics, such as the USA, Argentina, and Brazil, the powers of head of state and head of government are combined in the hands of an elected president. A strict delimitation of the competence of the highest bodies of state authority, along with the existence of these bodies as separate entities, produced other features characteristic of presidential republics, including the use of a nonparliamentary procedure in electing the president and forming the government, the exemption of the government from parliamentary accountability, and the right of the president to dissolve the parliament ahead of time.
The parliamentary republic is based on the formal principle of the supremacy of the parliament, to which the government bears a collective political accountability. This means that the government remains in power as long as it has the support of a parliamentary majority. When it loses this support, it either resigns or, through the head of the government, dissolves the parliament and schedules new parliamentary elections. In a parliamentary republic the government is formed only by parliamentary means and is made up of ministers chosen from the body of deputies—as a rule, from the leading figures in the ruling party or, in a coalition government, from the leading figures of several parties. In a parliamentary republic the prime minister, who heads the government, is usually the leader of the ruling party.
A republic is the only possible form of socialist state; irrespective of the type (soviet republic, people’s republic, people’s democratic republic, democratic republic), all socialist republics are constructed on common socialist principles.