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What is a Decentralized Government?

Definition: A decentralized government is a type of government that disperses power over a legislative body instead of maintaining power amongst a few individuals.

What Does Decentralized Government Mean?

What is the definition of decentralized government? The main characteristic of a uncentralized government is the existence of several smaller governing bodies, which are elected through voting and have the power to exercise political decision-making at a local level.

Political decentralization seeks to address societal issues by handing the citizens increased power through an elected representative government. Depending on the country, political decentralization may pertain to constitutional or statutory reforms, the creation of local political unions or new political parties and so on. Moreover, in the case that a part of the legislative body becomes corrupted, the decentralized system can easily throw it out.

Letís look at an example.


An example of a decentral government is the European Union. The European Commission has the power over the decision-making for the 27 Member States. However, each Member State has representatives, who inform the European Commission about the particular needs and issues of their country. The representatives decide on a local (national) level the proper solution to an issue, and they communicate it to the European Commission.

Another example of a decentral government is the Federal Government of the United States. In this case, the power is dispersed between the federal government of the 50 States in Washington DC and the regional governments. The national (federal) government has legislative, executive, and judicial power, which it exercises through the US Constitution, the Congress, and the President and the Supreme Court, respectively.

However, under the Tenth Amendment, the federal government cannot exercise any power that is not delegated to it by the Constitution. Furthermore, each State has its own constitution, regional government, and laws. Consequently, each State handles its issues with the laws that pertain to its jurisdiction, except monetary issues, such as the printing of money.

Other examples of decentralized governments include the governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, and India.

Summary Definition

Define Decentralized Governments: Decentral government means a governing body the distributes powers amongst many people.

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