Federalism is a political system that consists of promoting, from the central State, the autonomy of the regions, provinces or states, which together form a nation.
Federalism seeks, from the autonomy of the territorial entities, to establish union agreements or alliances that allow us to respond and provide more assertive and rapid solutions to the problems that affect society.
In this sense, the authorities of the territorial entities can make political, legislative and judicial decisions that are their responsibility. Hence, in some states or provinces there are, for example, different laws or statutes in reference to what is considered legal or not in a given place.
However, even if there is an autonomous entity or body, the states, provinces, regions or municipalities are always related by the general regulations of the government and, which are shared at the national level, such as, for example, complying with the provisions of the National Constitution.
There are many countries that have a federal political system, among which can be mentioned Germany, Canada, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, among others.
However, federalism is different in each country, since it is a system that can be adjusted to the reality of each nation.
The important thing about federalism is that the State, in general, recognizes its parts and the diversity of realities exists in each one of them. Therefore, it has a flexible government system that seeks to develop projects that reconcile the general social, political, economic and cultural values of a country.
Characteristics of federalism
Following are the main characteristics of federalism:
- There is no single model of federalism, since it depends on the creation of institutions and processes that offer solutions to its various realities and that seek political unity.
- This political system implies the existence of a national constitution in order to regulate, in a general way, the political, economic, social and cultural principles of the nation.
- Each territorial division of a nation has a certain degree of political autonomy. The authorities that direct said entity are generally elected by vote.
- Federalism promotes decentralization, that is, there is a central government and a group of governments or entities inferior to it, but with the ability to make certain decisions autonomously.
- It is a political system that requires the action of the Supreme Court of Justice to interpret the laws that appear in the constitution.
- Federalism usually has a republican political system.
Federalism and centralism
Federalism and centralism are two opposing concepts. Federalism is characterized by being a political system that seeks the agreement of the territorial entities that make up the country, so that they have a certain autonomy assumed by an authority or body.
For its part, centralism is characterized by concentrating the power of the State in a central body and, from there, administering everything related to the political, economic, legal and social aspects in general.
Federal states or federative states are those countries that are administered with federative regimes, as its name indicates. These types of countries are very common in the contemporary world, especially among the nations of the so-called First World. The following are examples of federative countries:
- The Russian Federation.
- The Swiss Confederation (Switzerland).
- The Federative Republic of Brazil.
- The Argentine Republic.
- The German Republic.
- The Republic of Austria.
- The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (formerly Burma).
- The United States of America.
- The Republic of India.
- The United Mexican States.
- The European Union.