Constitutional monarchy - a relatively young form of government. It simultaneously combines monarchical and democratic institutions. The degree of their correlation, as well as the level of real power of the crowned person, varies considerably in different countries. Let's find out in more detail what constitutes a constitutional monarchy and what are the features of this form of government.

The essence of the term

The constitutional monarchy is a special type of government, in which the monarch although formally considered the head of state, but his rights and functions are largely limited by the law of the country. This restriction must necessarily be not merely of a legal nature, but actually applied.

At the same time, it should be noted that there are such countries in which the crowned person has rather high powers, despite the restrictions, and such states, where the role of the monarch is purely nominal. Unlike the republic, the constitutional monarchy most often inherits a hereditary form of transfer of power, although its real volume can be minimized.

Classification of monarchies

The constitutional monarchy is just one of the many types that a monarchical system can take. This form of government can be absolute, theocratic (power belongs to the religious chapter), caste-representative, early feudal, ancient East, non-hegemonic.

Absolute and constitutional monarchy are distinguished mainly by the fact that in the first of them any decision of the ruler has the force of law, and in the second will of the monarch is largely limited by domestic laws and norms. Therefore, these forms of government are considered to be largely opposite to each other.

At the same time, within the concept of "constitutional monarchy" there is a division into two groups: dualistic and parliamentary.

dualistic monarchy

This type of government, as a dualistic monarchy, implies a significant part of the crowned person in public affairs. Often, the ruler is a full-fledged head of state with the majority of these rights and functions, but they are to some extent limited by law.

In such states the monarch has the right to personally appoint and dismiss the government of the country. Restrictions on the power of the crowned person are most often expressed in the ruling that all his orders are valid only after they are confirmed by the minister of the relevant department. But, given the fact that the ministers are appointed by the ruler himself, these restrictions are to a large extent formal.

In fact, the executive power belongs to the monarch, and legislative - to the parliament. At the same time, the governor can veto any law passed by the parliament, or completely dissolve it. The limitation of the power of the monarch is that the aforementioned legislature approves the approved crowned special budget or rejects it, but in the latter case risks to be dissolved.

Thus, in a dualistic monarchy, the ruler is the legal and actual head of state, but with limited rights.

parliamentary monarchy

The most restricted constitutional monarchy has a parliamentary form. Often in a country with such a state system the role of the monarch is purely nominal. He is a symbol of a nation and a formal chapter, but practically no actual power. The main function of the crowned person in such countries is the representative.

The government is responsible to the monarch, as is customary in the dualist monarchies, but before the parliament. It is formed by a legislative body with the support of the majority of parliamentarians. In this case, the crowned person often does not have the right to dissolve the parliament, elected democratically.

At the same time, some formal functions still remain nominal ruler. For example, he often signs decrees on the appointment of ministers elected by the legislature. In addition, the monarch represents his country abroad, performs ceremonial functions, and in critical moments for the state may even take on the fullness of power.

Thus, in a parliamentary form, the monarch does not possess any legislative or executive power. The first belongs to the parliament, and the second - the government, which is responsible to the legislature. The head of government is a prime minister or an official similar to him. The parliamentary monarchy most often corresponds to a democratic political regime.

The emergence of constitutionalism

Let's see how this form of government has evolved over centuries.

The formation of a constitutional monarchy is associated with the glorious revolution in England in 1688. Though to this period, there were countries with forms of government in which the power of the king was substantially limited to the feudal apex (sacred Roman Empire, the Commonwealth, etc.), but they did not correspond to the modern meaning of this term. Consequently, in 1688, as a result of the coup d'état, which rules in England, the Stuarts dynasty was displaced, and the king became William III of Orange. Already the following year, he issued the Bill of Rights, which severely restricted the royal power and gave the parliament very great powers. This document laid the foundation for the current political system in the UK. Constitutional monarchy in England finally developed in the XVIII century.

Further development

After the Revolution of 1789 in France, for some time, a constitutional monarchy was actually introduced. But she acted for a short time, until 1793, when the king was deprived of power and executed. The time has come for the republic, and then for the Napoleonic Empire. After this, the constitutional monarchy existed in France from 1830 to 1848 and from 1852 to 1870.

Sweden and Norway were called constitutional monarchies in 1818, when the dynasty of Bernadottes began to rule, the founder of which was the former Napoleonic general. A similar form of government has been established in the Netherlands since 1815, in Belgium since 1830, and in Denmark since 1849.

In 1867 the Austrian Empire, formerly the backbone of absolutism, transformed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which became a constitutional monarchy. In 1871, the German Empire, which also had a similar form of government, was formed. But both states ceased to exist due to defeat in the First World War.

One of the youngest monarchical systems with a constitutional system is Spanish. It arose in 1975, when King Juan Carlos I. came to the throne after the death of Franco's dictator.

Constitutionalism in the Russian Empire

Talk about the possibility of limiting the power of the emperor by the constitution began to be among the advanced representatives of the nobility at the beginning of the XIX century, in the days of Alexander I. The famous Decembrist uprising in 1825, the main objective was the abolition of autocracy and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, but it was suppressed by Nicholas I.

For king-reformer Alexander II, which abolished serfdom, certain steps were taken by the authorities in the direction of restricting autocracy and the development of constitutional institutions, but with the murder of the emperor in 1881, all these undertakings were frozen.

The revolution of 1905 showed that the existing regime in the former form survived itself. Therefore, Emperor Nicholas II gave a good blow to the formation of a parliamentary body - the State Duma. In fact, this meant that since 1905 a constitutional monarchy had been established in Russia in its dualistic form. But this form of government did not last long, since February and the October Revolution of 1917 marked the beginning of a completely different socio-political system.

Contemporary examples of constitutional monarchies

Strongly expressed dualistic monarchies of the modern world are Morocco and Jordan. With reservations, you can add to them the European dwarf states of Monaco and Liechtenstein. Sometimes this form of government is considered to be the state system of Bahrain, Kuwait and the OAU, but most political specialists consider them to be less close to absolutism.

The most well-known examples of the parliamentary monarchy are represented by the state system of Great Britain and its former dominions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand), Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Japan and other countries. It should be noted that the states representing this form of government are far more than dualistic.

The value of the form of government

Thus, we can state the fact that the constitutional monarchy in its various forms is a fairly widespread form of government. In many countries, its existence is one hundred years, and in others it is established relatively recently. This means that this type of government remains very relevant today.

If in a parliamentary form the formal rule of the monarch is more connected with respect for history and traditions, then the dualistic form is a way to limit the level of concentration of power in one's hands. But, of course, every country has its own peculiarities and nuances of the formation and functioning of this type of state system.