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What does constitutional monarchy mean?

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Answered 2011-04-21 11:07:54

A constitutional monarchy is a form of government, combining two concepts: a Monarchy and a Constitutional Democracy.

A Constitutional Democracy is a form of republic where the base rules of government are spelled out in one or more "founding" documents. That is, the government's duties and functions are defined in writing; this may be supplemented by Common Law legal rulings to define a body of official law that describes how the government is to be conducted. One major component of this body of law is that the government is some form of democracy, with a citizenry able to vote and participate in government.

A Monarchy is a form of government where a single individual acts as absolute head of state. This individual's position is usually (but not always) hereditary.

The combination of the two yields a form of government where the Executive Branch is headed by a Monarch, while the Legislative and Judiciary branches are run on Constitutional grounds (i.e. founded in law and with citizen participation). In some forms, the Monarch continues to wield significant (or even perhaps absolute) Executive power, while in others, the Monarch is little more than a figurehead.

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