How Much Do You Know About Different Forms of Government Around the World?

By: Isadora Teich
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

If there's one thing you know about America, it's that it is - despite all of its many flaws - a representative, federal, republican (with a small R) democracy. The "democracy" part means "rule by the people" - from the Greek demos, meaning people, plus kratos meaning rule.

That means the people are the supreme source of legislative power, as opposed to say, a monarch. The "representative" part means that the people elect representatives to represent their wishes and also their interests, the latter being especially important because sometimes the people do not have all the information and need experts to decide for us, for example about how to organize air traffic control or ban a given chemical.

This is as opposed to a direct democracy where all decisions are made collectively, through referendums or other methods. The "federal" part means that legislative power is diffused between the federal government and the governments of the 50 states. This is as opposed to one centralized authority.

The "republican" part means that America is a republic: that is, it belongs to the people, not to a ruler, and positions within its hierarchies are not inherited or bestowed by an unelected body. Living up to these ideals and the bedrock on which they rest - the rule of law, one-person-one-vote, equality before the law, etc. - is the work of generations.

Still, America is only one country, and there are 196 of them on the planet right now. Some are constitutional monarchies, others are absolute monarchies, some are federalized, others are centralized, some are ostensibly communist (though none is actually in practice) and some are failed states. Now we've covered some of the key terms describing them, let's see if you know which of these and others apply to which country!

Which of these countries is currently operating under communism?

There are currently 5 operating communist countries in the world. These are China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba.

What are the two most popular types of democracy?

Democracy is one of the most well-known and common types of government on earth. The two most common types of democracies are direct democracies, where each citizen votes directly on issues, and representative democracies ( which some consider the US to be), where citizens elect representatives to vote for them.

What type of government does the US have?

The US government can be described as a Representative Democracy or Federal Republic. This is because citizens legitimize the government through voting, public servants can be fired and government positions are not decided through birth or the decisions of dictators.

Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?

Justin Trudeau has served as the Prime Minister of Canada since 2015. He was preceded by Stephen Harper.

Where are most of the world's full democracies?

19 countries have governments which are considered full democracies and over half of these are in Western Europe. This includes the Scandinavian countries as well as Germany, The UK, Spain and Malta.

Which of these countries has a multi-party political system?

Multi-party systems are common around the world. In these countries, there are usually between 2-5 parties, but occasionally smaller parties will join to form coalitions.

Is absolute monarchy a common form of government in the modern world?

While absolute monarchy was a popular form of government around the world for centuries, it is not the only type of monarchy and is not so common anymore. Today many countries around the world, including The U.K., Kuwait, Spain, and Tuvalu have constitutional monarchies. In these places, monarchs are symbolic heads of state, but their actual governmental power is limited.

How many political parties participate in the Chinese government?

China is a unitary one-party socialist republic. The Communist Party of China has complete control of the entire government.

Which of these countries is currently operating as an absolute monarchy?

Saudi Arabia is a theocratic and totalitarian absolute monarchy where the king and the royal family dominate politics. The Koran is considered to the country's constitution and Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been the king of the country since 2015.

Which country scores the lowest on the democracy index?

North Korea is an authoritarian dictatorship. Out of 167 countries, it scored last at only 1.08 out of 10 on the democracy index.

Which of these countries is considered a full democracy?

Denmark is the fifth freest and most democratic country on earth. It either tops or comes near the top of the list of the world's happiest countries year after year, and its government is one of the least corrupt on earth.

Which country is ruled by the son of movie star Grace Kelly?

Monaco is a European country ruled by Prince Albert II, with tax laws that make it a haven for the super wealthy. Prince Albert II is the son of Grace Kelly and Monaco's previous ruler Rainier III and a member of the House of Grimaldi, which has ruled Monaco on and off for hundreds of years.

Under a constitutional monarchy, how much power does the king or queen have?

Constitutional monarchies very greatly from country to country. For example, the modern sovereign of Japan has no legal powers under their constitution and most European sovereigns are figureheads without much government control. However, in places like Morrocco and Bhutan, sovereigns have more political power.

Which country has had the same sultan for over 40 years?

Oman has been ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said since 1970 when he took over the country from his father in a palace coup. While Oman is considered an absolute monarchy, it is fairly liberal and prosperous.

How much say do the majority of citizens have in government under a dictatorship?

Under a dictatorship, either one person or small group of people makes all the decisions for an entire country without the consent of those living there. There is nothing limiting the power of dictators, and elections are often shams.

Where are most of the world's dictatorships?

Citizens of about 50 countries in the modern world are living under dictatorships, and about 20 of those countries are in Africa. These include Cameroon, Ethiopia and Chad.

Japan, America and France are all considered:

The majority of the world's countries are considered flawed democracies. These types of governments basically function despite their issues and protect the rights of citizens at least somewhat.

Does India have a president or prime minister?

India's government is a constitutionally democratic republic that has both a president and prime minister. The current president is Ram Nath Kovind and the current prime minister is Narendra Modi.

If a state is governed as a single entity under a supreme central government, then it is a:

Of the 193 UN member states, 165 are unitary states. This includes Greenland, many Eurasian countries, maritime Southeast Asian countries and New Zealand.

Which of these countries has a 2-party political system?

Under a two-party political system, only two main parties have power in government. While in other countries, like India, smaller political parties may make alliances to create something which is effectively a two-party system, in the US usually only those belonging to the Democratic or Republican parties are represented in government.

Elizabeth II is the reigning sovereign of which of these nations?

All of the countries listed above are defined as Commonwealth realms. They are all independent nations, but members of the Commonwealth of Nations and share Elizabeth II as their reigning head of state and constitutional monarch. There are 16 Commonwealth realms.

In an oligarchy, who makes decisions?

Oligarchies are a system of government under which a small elite group of people control the government for their benefit. According to some experts China, North Korea, and Venezuela are oligarchies. According to other experts, both the US and Russia have elements of this type of government as well.

Xi Jinping is the head of government in which country?

Xi Jinping is sometimes referred to as China's paramount leader, because he serves several roles throughout the government and military. He is the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, president of the entire country, and chairman of the Central Military Commission

In an autocracy, who has supreme social and political power?

In an autocratic government, one person rules everything with unquestioned power and no legal checks or balances. Both absolute monarchies, like in Saudi Arabia, and dictatorships, like in North Korea, are forms of autocracy.

Are there more full democracies or authoritarian regimes in the world?

Out of the 167 countries included in the democracy index, only 19 are considered full democracies and 51 are considered to have authoritarian regimes in power. Of all types of regimes, the smallest percentage of countries have a fully functional, non-corrupt government which protects the rights of its politically invested citizens.

Which of these politicians has been described as the leader of the free world?

Angela Merkel has served as the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. Merkel is the longest-serving government head in the EU and is widely considered to be the leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman on earth.

Which form of government is known as the most violent, unstable and hard to define?

An anocratic state is often one in transition, which has traits of both democratic and autocratic states. This type of government is known for wide-scale violence, human rights violations and political upheaval. Countries like Thailand, Nigeria, Nicaragua and Russia have been described by some experts as anocracies.

Which is one of the only European countries where the monarch still has political power?

Prince Hans-Adam II of Lichtenstein can veto laws, choose government officials and dissolve parliament. He is one of the last remaining monarchs in Europe with any political power.

In which type of government are religion and politics intertwined?

Under a theocratic government, a deity is the source of all authority. Modern-day theocracies include Vatican City and Iran.

Who is President of the United States?

Donald Trump is the 45th President of America. He was preceded by Barack Obama.

How is America classified by experts?

According to the democracy index, the US is classified as a flawed democracy. In a flawed democracy, most civil liberties are honored on some level. These states also may have an immature political culture, low levels of citizen participation in politics and a corrupt or ineffective government.

Which country is the most democratic on earth?

Norway scored a 9.93 out of 10 on the 2016 Democracy Index, making it the most effective full democracy on earth. Full democracies have a culture which reinforces democratic ideals and a functional non-corrupt government which protects civil liberties and political freedoms.

The majority of countries on earth have governments which could be considered:

Out of 167 countries, 57 are considered flawed democracies. Over 34% of countries, 44% of the world's total population, lives under flawed democratic governments.

Which of these is a feature of hybrid regimes?

40 of the world's countries have governments which could be described as hybrid regimes. 18% of the world's population, including Bangladesh, Ukraine, Kenya, Turkey and Pakistan has this type of government.

What happens to non-dominant parties under a one-party political system?

Throughout history, one-party governments have gone to great lengths to stifle political opposition in their own countries, often jailing and killing countless people. Current examples of countries with a one-party system include China and Singapore.

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