Government will always be a vital function of the society and there are different types of government forms. Some have been in existence for centuries while other only came recently. Below are the different forms of government.
1. Unitary Government
In these types of government forms, all the powers in a country are vested or concentrated on a central government or authority. In other words, power is concentrated at the unit. It is a type of government where there is only one level of government i.e the central government.
2. Federal Government
A federal system of government is the type of government where power and authority are shared between two distinct government levels namely: the component state governments and the national or central government. In these types of government forms, authority and power are shared into:
a. Exclusive list: all the power and functions in the exclusive list are performed by the federal government only. These functions include currency, defense, external affairs, aviation, immigration, customs, mining etc.
b. Concurrent list: here, all powers and functions are exercised by federal and state governments at the same time. The items that are commonly found in the concurrent list include: communication, road, agriculture, education, health etc. However, where there is a conflict on jurisdiction in the list, the decision of the federal government overrides that of the state government.
c. Residual list: The powers and functions in the residual list are only exercised by the state government. Items in the residual list include those items which are neither in the exclusive list nor in the concurrent list.
3. Confederal Governments
In these types of government forms, there is usually a loose federation or a weak central government. The component states have greater power than the central authority. Confederation is an extreme type of federalism. The central authority has a few services to perform e.g. telecommunications, currency, foreign affairs and defense.
4. Presidential system of government
This is one of the most common types of government forms. It is a system of government where the executive and non executive powers of a state are vested in an individual known as the president. In a presidential form of government, the president is the chief executive. The United States is a perfect example of countries that practice this form of government.
This is one of the oldest types of government forms. A monarchy was originally a type of government headed by one person – a king or chief – who was believed to be entitled to rule by virtue of his special relationship with God. In this modern time, a monarchy is a type of government where only the office of the head of state and the head of government are hereditary. In other words, only the head of state, or both the head of state and the head of government are chosen or selected through the process of inheritance and not democratically elected.
6. Parliamentary form of government
A parliamentary or cabinet system of government is a form of government where the governmental powers are shared between two persons: the head of state and the head of government. The head of state is usually known as the president, king, queen, governor, or monarch while the head of government is often addressed as the prime minister. In these types of government forms, the head of government performs executive functions while the head of state performs ceremonial functions. Britain is a good example of countries that practice this form of government.