Elective monarchy

From Academic Kids

An elective monarchy is a monarchy whose reigning king or queen is elected in some form.

In the ancient Kingdom of Rome, the kings were elected by the Assemblies. The Holy Roman Empire was another example of this, in which the Emperor was elected by a small council of nobles called prince-electors.

In Gaelic Order Ireland, a Rí, or king was elected to rule clan lands both large and small. While Rí (king) is used regardless of the size of the territory, in English, the lesser rulers are more commonly called chieftains. The Ard Rí Éireann, or High King of Ireland was also elected from among the provincial kings.

A system of elective monarchy existed in Anglo-Saxon England. See Witenagemot.

In Poland, after the death of the last Piast in 1370, Polish Kings were initially elected by a small council; gradually, this privilege was granted to all members of the gentry. Kings of Poland during the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795) were elected by gatherings of crowds of nobles at a field in Wola, today the neighbourhood of Warsaw. Every one of an estimated 500,000 nobles could potentially have participated in such elections in person. During the election period, the function of the king was perfomed by an interrex.

At the start of the 20th century, first monarchs of several newly-independent nations were elected by parliaments: Norway is the prime example. Previously, following precedent set in newly-independent Greece, new nations without a well-established hereditary royal family, often chose their own monarchs from among the established royal families of Europe rather than elevate a member of the local power establishment, in the hope that a stable hereditary monarchy would eventually emerge from the process. The now-deposed royal families of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania were originally appointed in this manner.

Other monarchs, such as the Shah of Iran, have been required to undergo a parliamentary vote of approval before being allowed to ascend to the throne.

When it was usual

Elective succession has been, in its various forms, the most usual official succession system in monarchies. The world's perhaps oldest method to determine succession as the leader of military has been through some sort of election. Elective monarchies were once common, although usually only a very small portion of the population was eligible to vote.

Most kingdoms were officially elective long into the historical times (though the election usually, or always, fell to family of the deceased monarch.) Hereditary systems came into being mostly in order to avoid instability and discontinuity which are ingrained in elective systems (Elective system attracts powerful leaders to use violence, make coups, and otherwise manipulate elections).

As the impact of the archaic democracy diminished, many elected monarchs were eventually allowed to introduce hereditary succession, guaranteeing that the title and office will stay within the their own family. Today, almost all monarchies are hereditary monarchies in which the monarchs come from one royal family with the office of sovereign being passed from one family member to another upon the death or abdication of the incumbent.

In monarchical government, a desire to ensure a continuity of operations has resulted in having some formalized order of succession. Particularly interregnums, but also for example quarreled elections, have been a sore point in efficacy of monarchical form of government, due to which much of their potential has been tied to or nubbed away with more or less precise succession laws.

Female rulers have almost never succeeded in an elective monarchy. Hereditary monarchy has thus edidently given females better opportunities than elective monarchy.


Currently, the world's only true "elective monarchies" are:

Some may argue that the remaining communist regimes are also "elective monarchies", as successors are often chosen from within the Communist Party. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il succeeded his father Kim Il Sung as leader. In Syria the head of state is President Bashar al-Assad, the son of president Hafez al-Assad, who led the country from 1971 until his death in 2000. These regimes, though they possess many features of absolutism, are not officially proclaimed as monarchies.

See also


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