Comparision b/w Federal and Unitary Governments

Unitary government is one in which all the powers are inherited in the national government and the regional governments (if at all exist), derive their authority from the national government. While a federal government is one in which powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution.
Created On: Sep 23, 2016 09:05 IST
Modified On: Sep 23, 2016 10:50 IST

Political scientists have classified governments into unitary and federal on the basis of the nature of relations between the national government and the regional governments.

Federal Government Definition:

A federal government is one in which powers are divided between the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution and both operate in their respective jurisdictions independently. US, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and so on have the federal model of government.

Unitary Government Definition:

A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 of them are governed as unitary states.  Countries like Britain, France, Japan, China, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain have unitary government.

Comparision b/w Features of Federal and Unitary Governments

Federal Government

Unitary Government

1. Dual Government (that is, national government and regional government)

1.Single government, that is, the national government which may create regional governments

2. Written Constitution

2. Constitution may be written (France) or unwritten (Britain)

3. Division of powers between the national and regional government

3. No division of powers. All powers are vested in the national government

4. Supremacy of the Constitution

4. Constitution may be supreme (Japan) or may not be supreme (Britain)

5. Rigid Constitution

5. Constitution may be rigid (France) or flexible (Britain)

6. Independent judiciary

6. Judiciary may be independent or may not be independent

7. Bicameral legislature

7. Legislature may be bicameral (Britain) or unicameral (China)

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