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What is a constitutional monarchy?

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2011-12-15 02:19:45
2011-12-15 02:19:45

A constitutional monarchy is a form of constitutional government, where either an elected or hereditary monarch is the head of state, unlike in an absolute monarchy, wherein the king or the queen is the sole source of political power, as he or she is not legally bound by the constitution.

The levels and types of power and authority held by the Monarch vary from case to case, as does the nature and guarantees of the constitution, of course.

Most constitutional monarchies have a parliamentary system (such as Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom) in which the monarch is the head of state, but a directly or indirectly elected prime minister is head of government.

Although most contemporary constitutional monarchies are representative, constitutional democratic monarchies, they have co-existed with fascist and quasi-fascist constitutions (Italy, Spain) and with military dictatorships.

There is no implication of shared power implicit in a constitutional monarchy. IN some cases, the constitutional monarch is essentially powerless and a figurehead, in others, the monarch enjoys -almost- unlimited power.

The sole distinction in a constitutional monarchy is that the power of the monarch is predicated on constitutional empowerment and limitations.

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