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This classification is certainly not complete, but it gives an idea of the choices available. In practice governments may share one or more of these characteristics. In particular a mixture of military rule and parliamentary system, first tried out in the UK has now achieved a considerable degree of economic success in East Asia. A country may enjoy (or suffer) several different forms of government in rapid succession. NOS = Not otherwise specified. .A Military Rule .B One party system .C Parliamentary System .D Presidential System .E Absolute Monarchy World Development Report 1990,WORLD BANK Rethinking the State. pp 128-147 Classification here due to Vanhanen. Skip the details
A. Military Rule A0 Multiple competing military factions (civil war). A1 Military cannot be paid (utterly unreliable). A9 Military must be on the streets most of the time. AA Military in barracks most of the time. AB Military own everything B. One party system B0 Theocracy B01 Islamic state B02 Protestant state B03 Catholic state (Vatican). B04 Buddhist state B1 Marxist B2 Syndicalist BA Capitalist BB Colonial rule BX Minority race/religion/language BZ One party system NOS C. Parliamentary System C1. Constitutional monarchy C11 Single chamber. C12 Two chamber C13 Multinational parliament C14 Two party system C15 Permanent Shuffling (like Italy) D. Presidential System D0 Dictatorship by 'strong man'. D1 President murdered predecessor. D2 President was elected D3 President bought office D4 Rotating presidency D41 RP linguistic basis. D42 RP ethnic basis. D43 RP religious basis. D44 RP class basis. D45 RP family or clan basis. D46 RP by lottery. D4Z RP NOS D8 President appointed by foreign government. D9 President is a dignitary who just attends funerals. E. Absolute Monarchy E0 Oil sheikdom E9 Poor mini-state like Bhutan. EK King is a vestige of God. ET Multinational empire. E: ABSOLUTE MONARCHY
Absolute monarchies seem an anachronism in the 20th century, but fashions do change. Because of the technological changes and increased consumer power it is now difficult for any young monarch to get away from the 'play-boy' image. Nevertheless a king can enjoy a reasonable life in a constitutional monarchy such as Denmark, or the Netherlands.


The financial rescue of Europe's Disneyland by a Saudi prince has been noted in the financial pages of many newspapers. All of the oil sheikdoms are dominated by one country, named after its own ruling clan. Saudi Arabia is the largest member of the Gulf Co-operation Council, and controls the largest economy. The other members are effectively the seven dwarfs.

Great care needs to be exercised in ruling this country now that the people have had a taste of prosperity, and various exile groups have been set up to try and steer the country towards the third millennium (or sixteenth century, in Hejira time).

You may examine the data on some of them here:

Committee Against Corruption in Saudi Arabia ( CACSA)
Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights ( CDLR)
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