Federalism | Wikipedia audio article
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Federalism | Wikipedia audio article


Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of
government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with
regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments)
in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the
founding example of modern federalism by the United States of America under the Constitution
of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government
in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.Federalism
differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the
regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level
of government is subordinate to the general level. It represents the central form in the pathway
of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism
and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state.Leading examples of
the federation or federal state include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany,
Switzerland, Argentina, Australia and India. Some also today characterize the European
Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed
the federal union of states.==Overview==The terms ‘federalism’ and ‘confederalism’
both have a root in the Latin word foedus, meaning “treaty, pact or covenant.” Their common meaning until the late eighteenth
century was a simple league or inter-governmental relationship among sovereign states based
upon a treaty. They were therefore initially synonyms. It was in this sense that James Madison in
Federalist 39 had referred to the new US Constitution as ‘neither a national nor a federal Constitution,
but a composition of both’ (i.e. neither constituting a single large unitary state nor a league/confederation
among several small states, but a hybrid of the two). In the course of the nineteenth century the
meaning of federalism would come to shift, strengthening to refer uniquely to the novel
compound political form established, while the meaning of confederalism would remain
at a league of states. Thus, this article relates to the modern usage
of the word ‘federalism’. Modern federalism is a system based upon democratic
rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state
governments. The term federalist describes several political
beliefs around the world depending on context. Federalism is sometimes viewed as in the context
of international negotiation as “the best system for integrating diverse nations, ethnic
groups, or combatant parties, all of whom may have cause to fear control by an overly
powerful center.” However, in some countries, those skeptical
of federal prescriptions believe that increased regional autonomy is likely to lead to secession
or dissolution of the nation. In Syria, federalization proposals have failed
in part because “Syrians fear that these borders could turn out to be the same as the ones
that the fighting parties have currently carved out.”Federations such as Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia
collapsed as soon as it was possible to put the model to the test.===Explanations for adoption of federalist
systems===According to Daniel Ziblatt’s Structuring
the State, there are four competing theoretical explanations in the academic literature for
the adoption of federal systems: Ideational theories, which hold that a greater
degree of ideological commitment to decentralist ideas in society makes federalism more likely
to be adopted. Cultural-historical theories, which hold that
federal institutions are more likely to be adopted in societies with culturally or ethnically
fragmented populations. “Social contract” theories, which hold that
federalism emerges as a bargain between a center and a periphery where the center is
not powerful enough to dominate the periphery and the periphery is not powerful enough to
secede from the center. “Infrastructural power” theories, which hold
that federalism is likely to emerge when the subunits of a potential federation already
have highly developed infrastructures (e.g. they are already constitutional, parliamentary,
and administratively modernized states).==European vs. American federalism==In Europe, “Federalist” is sometimes used
to describe those who favor a common federal government, with distributed power at regional,
national and supranational levels. Most European federalists want this development
to continue within the European Union. European federalism originated in post-war
Europe; one of the more important initiatives was Winston Churchill’s speech in Zürich
in 1946.In the United States, federalism originally referred to belief in a stronger central government. When the U.S. Constitution was being drafted,
the Federalist Party supported a stronger central government, while “Anti-Federalists”
wanted a weaker central government. This is very different from the modern usage
of “federalism” in Europe and the United States. The distinction stems from the fact that “federalism”
is situated in the middle of the political spectrum between a confederacy and a unitary
state. The U.S. Constitution was written as a reaction
to the Articles of Confederation, under which the United States was a loose confederation
with a weak central government. In contrast, Europe has a greater history
of unitary states than North America, thus European “federalism” argues for a weaker
central government, relative to a unitary state. The modern American usage of the word is much
closer to the European sense. As the power of the Federal government has
increased, some people have perceived a much more unitary state than they believe the Founding
Fathers intended. Most people politically advocating “federalism”
in the United States argue in favor of limiting the powers of the federal government, especially
the judiciary (see Federalist Society, New Federalism). In Canada, federalism typically implies opposition
to sovereigntist movements (most commonly Quebec separatism). The governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil,
India, and Mexico, among others, are also organized along federalist principles. Federalism may encompass as few as two or
three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In general, two extremes of federalism can
be distinguished: at one extreme, the strong federal state is almost completely unitary,
with few powers reserved for local governments; while at the other extreme, the national government
may be a federal state in name only, being a confederation in actuality. In 1999, the Government of Canada established
the Forum of Federations as an international network for exchange of best practices among
federal and federalizing countries. Headquartered in Ottawa, the Forum of Federations
partner governments include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico,
Nigeria, and Switzerland.==Examples of federalism=====
Australia===On the 1st of January 1901 the nation-state
of Australia officially came into existence as a federation. The Australian continent was colonised by
the United Kingdom in 1788, which subsequently established six, eventually self-governing,
colonies there. In the 1890s the governments of these colonies
all held referendums on becoming the unified, self-governing “Commonwealth of Australia”
within the British Empire. When all the colonies voted in favour of federation,
the Federation of Australia commenced, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of
Australia in 1901. The model of Australian federalism adheres
closely to the original model of the United States of America, although it does so through
a parliamentary Westminster system rather than a presidential system.===Brazil===In Brazil, the fall of the monarchy in 1889
by a military coup d’état led to the rise of the presidential system, headed by Deodoro
da Fonseca. Aided by well-known jurist Ruy Barbosa, Fonseca
established federalism in Brazil by decree, but this system of government would be confirmed
by every Brazilian constitution since 1891, although some of them would distort some of
the federalist principles. The 1937 federal government had the authority
to appoint State Governors (called intervenors) at will, thus centralizing power in the hands
of President Getúlio Vargas. Brazil also uses the Fonseca system to regulate
interstate trade. Brazil is one of the biggest federal governments. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 introduced
a new component to the ideas of federalism, including municipalities as federal entities. Brazilian municipalities are now invested
with some of the traditional powers usually granted to states in federalism, and they
are allowed to have a Constitution like the Constitution of Rio Grande do Sul State===
Canada===In Canada the system of federalism is described
by the division of powers between the federal parliament and the country’s provincial governments. Under the Constitution Act (previously known
as the British North America Act) of 1867, specific powers of legislation are allotted. Section 91 of the constitution gives rise
to federal authority for legislation, whereas section 92 gives rise to provincial powers. For matters not directly dealt with in the
constitution, the federal government retains residual powers; however, conflict between
the two levels of government, relating to which level has legislative jurisdiction over
various matters, has been a longstanding and evolving issue. Areas of contest include legislation with
respect to regulation of the economy, taxation, and natural resources.===India===The Government of India (referred to as the
Union Government) was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of
a federal union of 29 states and 7 union territories. The government of India is based on a 3 tiered
system, in which the Constitution of India delineates the subjects on which each tier
of government has executive powers. The Constitution originally provided for a
two-tier system of government, the Union Government (also known as the Central Government), representing
the Union of India, and the State governments. Later, a third tier was added in the form
of Panchayats and Municipalities. In the current arrangement, The Seventh Schedule
of the Indian Constitution delimits the subjects of each level of governmental jurisdiction,
dividing them into three lists: Union List includes subjects of national importance
such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. The Union Government alone can make laws relating
to the subjects mentioned in the Union List. State List contains subjects of State and
local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation. The State Governments alone can make laws
relating to the subjects mentioned in the State List. Concurrent List includes subjects of common
interest to both the Union Government as well as the State Governments, such as education,
forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession. Both the Union as well as the State Governments
can make laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. If their laws conflict with each other, the
law made by the Union Government will prevail.====Asymmetric federalism====
A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that unlike many other forms of federalism,
it is asymmetric. Article 370 makes special provisions for the
state of Jammu and Kashmir as per its Instrument of Accession. Article 371 makes special provisions for the
states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra,
Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim as per their accession or state-hood deals. Also one more aspect of Indian federalism
is system of President’s Rule in which the central government (through its appointed
Governor) takes control of state’s administration for certain months when no party can form
a government in the state or there is violent disturbance in the state.====Coalition politics====
Although the Constitution does not say so, India is now a multilingual federation. India has a multi-party system, with political
allegiances frequently based on linguistic, regional and caste identities, necessitating
coalition politics, especially at the Union level.===Nigeria===The Federal Republic of Nigeria has various
states which have evolved over time due to complex socioeconomic issues as well as the
effect of their colonial era. However, in modern Nigeria there are thirty
six states and one federal capital territory: Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi,
Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa,
Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun,
Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara, and the Federal Capital Territory
(FCT). There has been significant tension between
the southern states and the northern states due to financial inequality, ethnic differences,
religious conflict, and more. For example, religious conflict has led to
the rise of Boko Haram, a violent Islamist militant group which practices salafi jihadism
and wahhabism. In recent times, the Nigerian government has
often been accused of being a northern-dominated government that seeks to exploit the south
and benefit the north to the detriment of the south.===Malaysia===
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy.===Pakistan===Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal
republic, with Islam as the state religion. Powers are shared between the federal government
and the provinces. Relations between federation and provinces
is defined in Part V(Articles 141-159) of the constitution.Pakistan consists of four
provinces and three territories, including the Islamabad Capital Territory.====Levels of government====
There are several levels of government in Pakistan:=====District=====
The District Coordination Officer is the administrative head of the District Administration. They have wide-ranging responsibility for
overseeing, improving and directing the approved plans of the District Government.The Zila
Nazim used to be the executive head of the District Administration until 2010 when the
government gave their powers to the District Coordination Officers also. Their role is similar to district governor
or prefect, with responsibility for implementing government strategy and developing initiatives
arising out of it.In order to decentralize administrative and financial authority to
be accountable to Local Governments, for good governance, effective delivery of services
and transparent decision making through institutionalized participation of the people at grassroots
level, elections to the local government institutions are held after every four years on none party
basis by the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan.=====Tehsil=====
Among the three tiers of local government, Tesil government is second tier of it. It is where the functions, responsibilities
and authorities of districts government is divided into more smaller units, these units
are known as “Tehsil”. The Tehsils are used in all over the Pakistan
except Sindh province where the word “Taluka” is used instead, although the functions and
authorities are same. The head of the Tehsil government is “Tehsil
Nazim” who is assisted by the tehsil Naib-Nazim. Every tehsil has a Tehsil Municipal Administration,
consisting of a Tehsil council, Tehsil Nazim, tehsil/taluka municipal officer(TMO), Chief
officer and other officials of local council.=====Union Council=====
Members of Union Council including Union Administrator and Vice Union Administrator are elected through
direct elections based on adult franchise and on the basis of joint electorate. However, for the election to the reserved
seats for Women in Zila Council proportionately divided among Tehsils or Towns shall be all
members of the Union Councils in a Tehsil or Town. It is the responsibility of the Chief Election
Commissioner to organize and conduct these elections.===South Africa===Although South Africa bears some elements
of a federal system, such as the allocation of certain powers to provinces, it is nevertheless
constitutionally and functionally a unitary state.===Federalism in Europe===
Several federal systems exist in Europe, such as in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium,
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union. In Britain, an Imperial Federation was once
seen as (inter alia) a method of solving the Home Rule problem in Ireland; federalism has
long been proposed as a solution to the “Irish Problem”, and more lately, to the “West Lothian
question”.====French Revolution====
During the French Revolution, especially in 1793, “federalism” had an entirely different
meaning. It was a political movement to weaken the
central government in Paris by devolving power to the provinces.====European Union====
Following the end of World War II, several movements began advocating a European federation,
such as the Union of European Federalists and the European Movement, founded in 1948. Those organizations exercised influence in
the European unification process, but never in a decisive way.Although the drafts of both
the Maastricht treaty and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe mentioned federalism,
the reference never made it to the text of the treaties adopted by consensus. The strongest advocates of European federalism
have been Germany, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg while those historically most strongly opposed
have been the United Kingdom, Denmark and France (with conservative heads of state and
governments). Since the presidency of François Mitterrand
(1981-1995), the French authorities have adopted a much more pro-European Unification position,
as they consider that a strong EU is presenting the best “insurance” against a unified Germany
which might become too strong and thus a threat for its neighbours. Those uncomfortable using the “F” word
in the EU context should feel free to refer to it as a quasi-federal or federal-like system. Nevertheless, for the purposes of the analysis
here, the EU has the necessary attributes of a federal system. It is striking that while many scholars of
the EU continue to resist analyzing it as a federation, most contemporary students of
federalism view the EU as a federal system (See for instance, Bednar, Filippov et al.,
McKay, Kelemen, Defigueido and Weingast). (R. Daniel Kelemen)====Germany====Germany and the EU present the only examples
of federalism in the world where members of the federal “upper houses” (the German Bundesrat
(Federal Council) and the European Council) are neither elected nor appointed but comprise
members or delegates of the governments of their constituents. The United States had a similar system until
1913, where prior to the 17th Amendment, Senators were delegates of the state elected by the
state legislatures rather than the citizens. Already the Holy Roman Empire, the Confederation
of the Rhine, the German Confederation, the North German Confederation, the German Empire
and the Weimar Republic were federal complexes of territories of different political structures. Modern Germany abandoned federalism only during
Nazism (1933–1945, only de facto but not de jure) and in the German Democratic Republic
(1952–1990). Adolf Hitler viewed federalism as an obstacle
to his goals. As he wrote in Mein Kampf, “National Socialism
must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard
to what were hitherto the confines of federal states.”Accordingly, the idea of a strong,
centralized government has very negative connotations in German politics, although the progressive
political movements in Germany (Liberals, Social Democrats) were advocating at the time
of the Second German Empire (1871-1918) to abolish (or to reshape) the majority of German
federated states of that era, as they were considered to be mostly monarchist remnances
of the feudal structures of the Middle Ages.===Russian Federation===The post-Imperial nature of Russian subdivision
of government changed towards a generally autonomous model which began with the establishment
of the USSR (of which Russia was governed as part). It was liberalized in the aftermath of the
Soviet Union, with the reforms under Boris Yeltsin preserving much of the Soviet structure
while applying increasingly liberal reforms to the governance of the constituent republics
and subjects (while also coming into conflict with Chechen secessionist rebels during the
Chechen War). Some of the reforms under Yeltsin were scaled
back by Vladimir Putin. All of Russia’s subdivisional entities are
known as subjects, with some smaller entities, such as the republics enjoying more autonomy
than other subjects on account of having an extant presence of a culturally non-Russian
ethnic minority or, in some cases, majority. Currently, there are 85 federal subjects of
Russia.===United Arab Emirates===The UAE is a federal absolute monarchy of
the six ruling families of the United Arab Emirates with Emir of each Emirate being an
absolute monarch and the Emir of Abu Dhabi being also the President of the UAE.===United States===Federalism in the United States is the evolving
relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States. American government has evolved from a system
of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In “Federalist No. 46,” James Madison asserted
that the states and national government “are in fact but different agents and trustees
of the people, constituted with different powers.” Alexander Hamilton, writing in “Federalist
No. 28,” suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’
benefit: “If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the
other as the instrument of redress.” (1) Because the states were preexisting political
entities, the U.S. Constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one
section but it often mentions the rights and responsibilities of state governments and
state officials in relation to the federal government. The federal government has certain express
powers (also called enumerated powers) which are powers spelled out in the Constitution,
including the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause
gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law “necessary and proper” for
the execution of its express powers. Other powers—the reserved powers—are reserved
to the people or the states. The power delegated to the federal government
was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819),
amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments—as
well as the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the
final dictates of the federal government. The Federalist Party of the United States
was opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, including powerful figures such as Thomas
Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed
that: the Legislature had too much power (mainly because of the Necessary and Proper Clause)
and that they were unchecked; the Executive had too much power, and that there was no
check on the executive; a dictator would arise; and that a bill of rights should be coupled
with the constitution to prevent a potential dictator from exploiting or tyrannizing citizens. The federalists, on the other hand, argued
that it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily
overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be
decided by the judicial system of courts. After the American Civil War, the federal
government increased greatly in influence on everyday life and in size relative to the
state governments. Reasons included the need to regulate businesses
and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision
of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial
new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. From 1938 until 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court
did not invalidate any federal statute as exceeding Congress’ power under the Commerce
Clause. Most actions by the federal government can
find some legal support among the express powers, such as the Commerce Clause, whose
applicability has been narrowed by the Supreme Court in recent years. In 1995 the Supreme Court rejected the Gun-Free
School Zones Act in the Lopez decision, and also rejected the civil remedy portion of
the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 in the United States v. Morrison decision. Recently, the Commerce Clause was interpreted
to include marijuana laws in the Gonzales v. Raich decision. Dual federalism holds that the federal government
and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. However, since the Civil War Era, the national
courts often interpret the federal government as the final judge of its own powers under
dual federalism. The establishment of Native American governments
(which are separate and distinct from state and federal government) exercising limited
powers of sovereignty, has given rise to the concept of “bi-federalism.”===Venezuela===The Federal War ended in 1863 with the signing
of the Treaty of Coche by both the centralist government of the time and the Federal Forces. The United States of Venezuela were subsequently
incorporated under a “Federation of Sovereign States” upon principles borrowed from the
Articles of Confederation of the United States of America. In this Federation, each State had a “President”
of its own that controlled almost every issue, even the creation of “State Armies,” while
the Federal Army was required to obtain presidential permission to enter any given state. However, more than 140 years later, the original
system has gradually evolved into a quasi-centralist form of government. While the 1999 Constitution still defines
Venezuela as a Federal Republic, it abolished the Senate, transferred competences of the
States to the Federal Government and granted the President of the Republic vast powers
to intervene in the States and Municipalities.===Federalism with two components=======
Belgium====Federalism in the Kingdom of Belgium is an
evolving system. Belgian federalism is a twin system which
reflects both the linguistic communities of the country, French
(ca. 40% of the total population), Dutch (ca. 59%), and to a much lesser extent German (ca.
1%) and the geographically defined Regions (federated
States: Brussels-Capital (de facto Greater Brussels), Flanders and Wallonia). The last two correspond to the language areas
in Belgium, Wallonia hosting both the bulk of the French-speaking population and the
German-speaking minority. In Brussels, ca. 80% of the population speaks
French and ca. 20% Dutch with the city being an enclave of the Flemish region and officially
a bilingual area. Flanders is the region associated with Belgium’s
Dutch-speaking majority, i.e. the Flemish Community. Due to its relatively small size (approximately
one percent) the German-speaking Community of Belgium does not have much influence on
national politics. Wallonia is a French-speaking area, except
for the German-speaking so-called East Cantons (Cantons de l’est). French is the second most spoken mother tongue
of Belgium, after Dutch. Within the French-speaking Community of Belgium,
there is a geographical and political distinction between Wallonia and Brussels for historical
and sociological reasons. Historically, the Walloons were for a federalism
with three components and the Flemings for two. This difference is one of the elements which
makes the Belgian issue so complicated. The Flemings wanted to defend their culture
while the Walloons wanted to defend their political and economical supremacy they had
in the 19th century: It is true that the Walloon movement, which has never stopped affirming
that Wallonia is part of the French cultural area, has never made this cultural struggle
a priority, being more concerned to struggle against its status as a political minority
and the economic decline which was only a corollary to it.On one hand, this means that
the Belgian political landscape, generally speaking, consists of only two components:
the Dutch-speaking population represented by Dutch-language political parties, and the
majority populations of Wallonia and Brussels, represented by their French-speaking parties. The Brussels region emerges as a third component. This specific dual form of federalism, with
the special position of Brussels, consequently has a number of political issues—even minor
ones—that are being fought out over the Dutch/French-language political division. With such issues, a final decision is possible
only in the form of a compromise. This tendency gives this dual federalism model
a number of traits that generally are ascribed to confederalism, and makes the future of
Belgian federalism contentious.On the other hand, Belgian federalism is federated with
three components. An affirmative resolution concerning Brussels’
place in the federal system passed in the parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels. These resolutions passed against the desires
of Dutch-speaking parties, who are generally in favour of a federal system with two components
(i.e. the Dutch and French Communities of Belgium). However, the Flemish representatives in the
Parliament of the Brussels Capital-Region voted in favour of the Brussels resolution,
with the exception of one party. The chairman of the Walloon Parliament stated
on July 17, 2008 that, “Brussels would take an attitude”. Brussels’ parliament passed the resolution
on July 18, 2008: The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
approves with great majority a resolution claiming the presence of Brussels itself at
the negotiations of the reformation of the Belgian State. July 18, 2008This aspect of Belgian federalism
helps to explain the difficulties of partition; Brussels, with its importance, is linked to
both Wallonia and Flanders and vice versa. This situation, however, does not erase the
traits of a confederation in the Belgian system.====Other examples====Current examples of two-sided federalism: Bosnia and Herzegovina is a federation of
two entities: Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the latter itself
a federation).Historical examples of two-sided federalism include: Czechoslovakia, until the Czech Republic and
the Slovak Republic separated in 1993. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, from 1992
to 2003 when it became a confederation titled the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This confederation expired 2006 as Montenegro
declared its independence. The 1960 Constitution of Cyprus was based
on the same ideas, but the union of Greeks and Turks failed. United Republic of Tanzania (formerly United
Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar), which was the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Iraq adapted a federal system on 15 October
2005, and formally recognized the Kurdistan Region as the country’s first and currently
only federal region. See Constitution of Iraq for more information
regarding Iraq’s method of creating federal entities. The Federal Republic of Cameroun operated
between 1961 and 1972===Proposed federalism===
It has been proposed in several unitary states to establish a federal system, for various
reasons.====China====China is the largest unitary state in the
world by both population and land area. Although China has had long periods of central
rule for centuries, it is often argued that the unitary structure of the Chinese government
is far too unwieldy to effectively and equitably manage the country’s affairs. On the other hand, Chinese nationalists are
suspicious of decentralization as a form of secessionism and a backdoor for national disunity;
still others argue that the degree of autonomy given to provincial-level officials in the
People’s Republic of China amounts to a de facto federalism.====Libya====
Shortly after the 2011 civil war, some people in Cyrenaica (in the eastern region of the
country) began to call for the new regime to be federal, with the traditional three
regions of Libya (Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan) being the constituent units. A group calling itself the “Cyrenaican Transitional
Council” issued a declaration of autonomy on 6 March 2012; this move was rejected by
the National Transitional Council in Tripoli.====Myanmar====The changes in the state structure that composes
the national government in Naypyitaw and the state/regional governments and the federal
negotiations between the national government and ethnic minority armed forces said to be
the first step of federalism in Myanmar. Former president of Myanmar, Thein Sein supported
the federalization of Myanmar as he said federalization can promote national stability.====Philippines====The Philippines is a unitary state with some
powers devolved to Local Government Units (LGUs) under the terms of the Local Government
Code. There is also one autonomous region, the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao. Over the years various modifications have
been proposed to the Constitution of the Philippines, including possible transition to a federal
system as part of a shift to a semi-presidential system. In 2004, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo established the Consultative Commission which suggested such a Charter Change but
no action was taken by the Philippine Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution. The push for federalism was again revived
under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.====Spain====
Spain is a unitary state with a high level of decentralisation, often regarded as a federal
system in all but name or a “federation without federalism”. The country has been quoted as being “an extraordinarily
decentralized country”, with the central government accounting for just 18% of public spending,
38% for the regional governments, 13% for the local councils, and the remaining 31%
for the social security system. The current Spanish constitution has been
implemented in such a way that, in many respects, Spain can be compared to countries which are
undeniably federal.However, in order to manage the tensions present in the Spanish transition
to democracy, the drafters of the current Spanish constitution avoided giving labels
such as ‘federal’ to the territorial arrangements. Besides, unlike in the federal system, the
main taxes are taken centrally from Madrid (except for the Basque Country and Navarre,
which were recognized in the Spanish democratic constitution as charter territories drawing
from historical reasons) and then distributed to the Autonomous Communities. An explicit and legal recognition of federalism
as such has been promoted by parties such as Podemos, United Left and the Spanish Socialist
Workers’ Party. The Spanish Socialist party considered the
idea of enshrining a federal Spain in 2012, as meeting point between separatist and recentralizing
proposals.====Sri Lanka========Syria========
United Kingdom====The United Kingdom has traditionally been
governed as a unitary state by the Westminster Parliament in London. Instead of adopting a federal model, the UK
has relied on gradual devolution to decentralise political power. Devolution in the UK began with the Government
of Ireland Act 1914 which granted home rule to Ireland as a constituent country of the
former United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland in 1921
which saw the creation of the sovereign Irish Free State (which eventually evolved into
the modern day Republic of Ireland), Northern Ireland retained its devolved government through
the Parliament of Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK to have such a body at this
time. This body was suspended in 1972 and Northern
Ireland was governed by direct rule during the period of conflict known as The Troubles. In modern times, a process of devolution in
the United Kingdom has decentralised power once again. Since the 1997 referendums in Scotland and
Wales and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, three of the four constituent countries
of the UK now have some level of autonomy. Government has been devolved to the Scottish
Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. England does not have its own parliament and
English affairs continue to be decided by the Westminster Parliament. In 1998 a set of eight unelected Regional
assemblies, or chambers, was created to support the English Regional Development Agencies,
but these were abolished between 2008 and 2010. The Regions of England continue to be used
in certain governmental administrative functions. Critics of devolution often cite the West
Lothian question, which refers to the voting power of non-English MPs on matters affecting
only England in the UK Parliament. Scottish and Welsh nationalism have been increasing
in popularity, and since the Scottish independence referendum, 2014 there has been a wider debate
about the UK adopting a federal system with each of the four home nations having its own,
equal devolved legislatures and law-making powers.UK federal government was proposed
as early as 1912 by the Member of Parliament for Dundee, Winston Churchill, in the context
of the legislation for Irish Home Rule. In a speech in Dundee on 12 September, he
proposed that England should also be governed by regional parliaments, with power devolved
to areas such as Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands and London as part of a federal system
of government.==Federalism and localism in anarchist political
theory==Anarchists are against the State but are not
against political organization or “governance”—so long as it is self-governance utilizing direct
democracy. The mode of political organization preferred
by anarchists, in general, is federalism or confederalism. However, the anarchist definition of federalism
tends to differ from the definition of federalism assumed by pro-state political scientists. The following is a brief description of federalism
from section I.5 of An Anarchist FAQ: “The social and political structure of anarchy
is similar to that of the economic structure, i.e., it is based on a voluntary federation
of decentralized, directly democratic policy-making bodies. These are the neighborhood and community assemblies
and their confederations. In these grassroots political units, the concept
of “self-management” becomes that of “self-government”, a form of municipal organisation in which
people take back control of their living places from the bureaucratic state and the capitalist
class whose interests it serves. […]
The key to that change, from the anarchist standpoint, is the creation of a network of
participatory communities based on self-government through direct, face-to-face democracy in
grassroots neighborhood and community assemblies [meetings for discussion, debate, and decision
making]. […]
Since not all issues are local, the neighborhood and community assemblies will also elect mandated
and re-callable delegates to the larger-scale units of self-government in order to address
issues affecting larger areas, such as urban districts, the city or town as a whole, the
county, the bio-region, and ultimately the entire planet. Thus the assemblies will confederate at several
levels in order to develop and co-ordinate common policies to deal with common problems. […]
This need for co-operation does not imply a centralized body. To exercise your autonomy by joining self-managing
organisations and, therefore, agreeing to abide by the decisions you help make is not
a denial of that autonomy (unlike joining a hierarchical structure, where you forsake
autonomy within the organisation). In a centralized system, we must stress, power
rests at the top and the role of those below is simply to obey (it matters not if those
with the power are elected or not, the principle is the same). In a federal system, power is not delegated
into the hands of a few (obviously a “federal” government or state is a centralized system). Decisions in a federal system are made at
the base of the organisation and flow upwards so ensuring that power remains decentralized
in the hands of all. Working together to solve common problems
and organize common efforts to reach common goals is not centralization and those who
confuse the two make a serious error — they fail to understand the different relations
of authority each generates and confuse obedience with co-operation.”==
Christian Church==Federalism also finds expression in ecclesiology
(the doctrine of the church). For example, presbyterian church governance
resembles parliamentary republicanism (a form of political federalism) to a large extent. In Presbyterian denominations, the local church
is ruled by elected elders, some of which are ministerial. Each church then sends representatives or
commissioners to presbyteries and further to a general assembly. Each greater level of assembly has ruling
authority over its constituent members. In this governmental structure, each component
has some level of sovereignty over itself. As in political federalism, in presbyterian
ecclesiology there is shared sovereignty. Other ecclesiologies also have significant
representational and federalistic components, including the more anarchic congregational
ecclesiology, and even in more hierarchical episcopal ecclesiology. Some Christians argue that the earliest source
of political federalism (or federalism in human institutions; in contrast to theological
federalism) is the ecclesiastical federalism found in the Bible. They point to the structure of the early Christian
Church as described (and prescribed, as believed by many) in the New Testament. In their arguments, this is particularly demonstrated
in the Council of Jerusalem, described in Acts chapter 15, where the Apostles and elders
gathered together to govern the Church; the Apostles being representatives of the universal
Church, and elders being such for the local church. To this day, elements of federalism can be
found in almost every Christian denomination, some more than others.==Constitutional structure=====
Division of powers===In a federation, the division of power between
federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution. Almost every country allows some degree of
regional self-government, in federations the right to self-government of the component
states is constitutionally entrenched. Component states often also possess their
own constitutions which they may amend as they see fit, although in the event of conflict
the federal constitution usually takes precedence. In almost all federations the central government
enjoys the powers of foreign policy and national defense as exclusive federal powers. Were this not the case a federation would
not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany retain the
right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange
for the Kingdom of Bavaria’s agreement to join the German Empire in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power
varies from one nation to another. The constitutions of Germany and the United
States provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained
by the states. The Constitution of some countries like Canada
and India, on the other hand, state that powers not explicitly granted to the provincial governments
are retained by the federal government. Much like the US system, the Australian Constitution
allocates to the Federal government (the Commonwealth of Australia) the power to make laws about
certain specified matters which were considered too difficult for the States to manage, so
that the States retain all other areas of responsibility. Under the division of powers of the European
Union in the Lisbon Treaty, powers which are not either exclusively of European competence
or shared between EU and state as concurrent powers are retained by the constituent states. Where every component state of a federation
possesses the same powers, we are said to find ‘symmetric federalism’. Asymmetric federalism exists where states
are granted different powers, or some possess greater autonomy than others do. This is often done in recognition of the existence
of a distinct culture in a particular region or regions. In Spain, the Basques and Catalans, as well
as the Galicians, spearheaded a historic movement to have their national specificity recognized,
crystallizing in the “historical communities” such as Navarre, Galicia, Catalonia, and the
Basque Country. They have more powers than the later expanded
arrangement for other Spanish regions, or the Spain of the autonomous communities (called
also the “coffee for everyone” arrangement), partly to deal with their separate identity
and to appease peripheral nationalist leanings, partly out of respect to specific rights they
had held earlier in history. However, strictly speaking Spain is not a
federalism, but a decentralized administrative organization of the state. It is common that during the historical evolution
of a federation there is a gradual movement of power from the component states to the
centre, as the federal government acquires additional powers, sometimes to deal with
unforeseen circumstances. The acquisition of new powers by a federal
government may occur through formal constitutional amendment or simply through a broadening of
the interpretation of a government’s existing constitutional powers given by the courts. Usually, a federation is formed at two levels:
the central government and the regions (states, provinces, territories), and little to nothing
is said about second or third level administrative political entities. Brazil is an exception, because the 1988 Constitution
included the municipalities as autonomous political entities making the federation tripartite,
encompassing the Union, the States, and the municipalities. Each state is divided into municipalities
(municípios) with their own legislative council (câmara de vereadores) and a mayor (prefeito),
which are partly autonomous from both Federal and State Government. Each municipality has a “little constitution”,
called “organic law” (lei orgânica). Mexico is an intermediate case, in that municipalities
are granted full-autonomy by the federal constitution and their existence as autonomous entities
(municipio libre, “free municipality”) is established by the federal government and
cannot be revoked by the states’ constitutions. Moreover, the federal constitution determines
which powers and competencies belong exclusively to the municipalities and not to the constituent
states. However, municipalities do not have an elected
legislative assembly. Federations often employ the paradox of being
a union of states, while still being states (or having aspects of statehood) in themselves. For example, James Madison (author of the
US Constitution) wrote in Federalist Paper No. 39 that the US Constitution “is in strictness
neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both. In its foundation, it is federal, not national;
in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the Government are drawn, it is partly
federal, and partly national…” This stems from the fact that states in the
US maintain all sovereignty that they do not yield to the federation by their own consent. This was reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution, which reserves all powers and rights that are not delegated
to the Federal Government as left to the States and to the people.===Bicameralism===
The structures of most federal governments incorporate mechanisms to protect the rights
of component states. One method, known as ‘intrastate federalism’,
is to directly represent the governments of component states in federal political institutions. Where a federation has a bicameral legislature
the upper house is often used to represent the component states while the lower house
represents the people of the nation as a whole. A federal upper house may be based on a special
scheme of apportionment, as is the case in the senates of the United States and Australia,
where each state is represented by an equal number of senators irrespective of the size
of its population. Alternatively, or in addition to this practice,
the members of an upper house may be indirectly elected by the government or legislature of
the component states, as occurred in the United States prior to 1913, or be actual members
or delegates of the state governments, as, for example, is the case in the German Bundesrat
and in the Council of the European Union. The lower house of a federal legislature is
usually directly elected, with apportionment in proportion to population, although states
may sometimes still be guaranteed a certain minimum number of seats.===Intergovernmental relations===
In Canada, the provincial governments represent regional interests and negotiate directly
with the central government. A First Ministers conference of the prime
minister and the provincial premiers is the de facto highest political forum in the land,
although it is not mentioned in the constitution.===Constitutional change===
Federations often have special procedures for amendment of the federal constitution. As well as reflecting the federal structure
of the state this may guarantee that the self-governing status of the component states cannot be abolished
without their consent. An amendment to the constitution of the United
States must be ratified by three-quarters of either the state legislatures, or of constitutional
conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect. In referendums to amend the constitutions
of Australia and Switzerland it is required that a proposal be endorsed not just by an
overall majority of the electorate in the nation as a whole, but also by separate majorities
in each of a majority of the states or cantons. In Australia, this latter requirement is known
as a double majority. Some federal constitutions also provide that
certain constitutional amendments cannot occur without the unanimous consent of all states
or of a particular state. The US constitution provides that no state
may be deprived of equal representation in the senate without its consent. In Australia, if a proposed amendment will
specifically impact one or more states, then it must be endorsed in the referendum held
in each of those states. Any amendment to the Canadian constitution
that would modify the role of the monarchy would require unanimous consent of the provinces. The German Basic Law provides that no amendment
is admissible at all that would abolish the federal system.===Other technical terms===
Fiscal federalism – the relative financial positions and the financial relations between
the levels of government in a federal system. Formal federalism (or ‘constitutional federalism’)
– the delineation of powers is specified in a written constitution, which may or may
not correspond to the actual operation of the system in practice. Executive federalism refers in the English-speaking
tradition to the intergovernmental relationships between the executive branches of the levels
of government in a federal system and in the continental European tradition to the way
constituent units ‘execute’ or administer laws made centrally.==Federalism as a political philosophy==The meaning of federalism, as a political
movement, and of what constitutes a ‘federalist’, varies with country and historical context. Movements associated with the establishment
or development of federations can exhibit either centralising or decentralising trends. For example, at the time those nations were
being established, factions known as “federalists” in the United States and Australia advocated
the formation of strong central government. Similarly, in European Union politics, federalists
mostly seek greater EU integration. In contrast, in Spain and in post-war Germany,
federal movements have sought decentralisation: the transfer of power from central authorities
to local units. In Canada, where Quebec separatism has been
a political force for several decades, the “federalist” impulse aims to keep Quebec inside
Canada.==Federalism as a conflict reducing device
==Federalism, and other forms of territorial
autonomy, is generally seen as a useful way to structure political systems in order to
prevent violence among different groups within countries because it allows certain groups
to legislate at the subnational level. Some scholars have suggested, however, that
federalism can divide countries and result in state collapse because it creates proto-states. Still others have shown that federalism is
only divisive when it lacks mechanisms that encourage political parties to compete across
regional boundaries.==See also====
Notes and references====
External links==P.-J. Proudhon, The Principle of Federation,
1863. A Comparative Bibliography: Regulatory Competition
on Corporate Law A Rhetoric for Ratification: The Argument
of the Federalist and its Impact on Constitutional Interpretation
Brainstorming National (in French) Teaching about Federalism in the United States
– From the Education Resources Information Center Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social
Science Education Bloomington, Indiana. An Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based international
organization for federal countries that share best practices among countries with that system
of government Tenth Amendment Center Federalism and States
Rights in the U.S. BackStory Radio episode on the origins and
current status of Federalism Constitutional law scholar Hester Lessard
discusses Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and jurisdictional justice McGill University,
2011 General Federalism

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