Big Systems in Small Countries (A Comparative Analysis)

No.3(2000)

Abstract
The paper describes the political systems of microstates. At the beginning we had some problems with the definition of „microstate" because political geography has not defined it precisely. We take two criteria: size of territory and population. So, we say that the microstate is a state with territory smaller than 1 000 km-. The practice shows that this definition is a very broad term. We think that there should be defined three main types and one side type of microstates: 1) small microstates (0-100 km2), 2) medium microstates (100-500 km2), 3) large microstates (500-1 000 km-) and 3b) large microstates with a lot of inhabitants (more than 500 000). According to these definitions we can recognize 24 microstates - Vatican, Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu and San Marino (small microstates); Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Maledives, Malta, Grenada, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Barbados, Antigua a Barbuda, Seychelles, Andorra and Palau (medium microstates); St. Lucia, Micronesia, Tonga, Dominica and Kiribati (large microstates); Bahrain and Singapore (large microstates with a lot of inhabitants). Of course, “only state can be a state”, so we don’t include to our text non-sovereign units as colonies, autonomous regions, private states, dependencies, inside-country regions, enclaves etc. In our analysis of political systems of microstates we focus on forms of government, types of administrative systems, structures of parliaments, types of electoral systems and, last but not least, types of party systems. We can see a big diversity of politics in microstates. There are democracies, authoritarian regimes and semi-democracies, monarchies and republics, parliamentary and presidential regimes, federations and unitary states, unicameral and bicameral assemblies, plurality and majority electoral systems, multiparty and biparty or nonparty systems. What is the most important- despite of their smaltnes, all of them have “big” systems such as normal “adult” countries.

Keywords:
Political systems; small countries; microstates
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