Provisional government

A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government,[1] is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of new nations or following the collapse of the previous governing administration. Provisional governments are generally appointed, and frequently arise, either during or after civil or foreign wars.

Provisional governments maintain power until a new government can be appointed by a regular political process, which is generally an election.[2] They may be involved with defining the legal structure of subsequent regimes, guidelines related to human rights and political freedoms, the structure of the economy, government institutions, and international alignment.[3] Provisional governments differ from caretaker governments, which are responsible for governing within an established parliamentary system and serve as placeholders following a motion of no confidence, or following the dissolution of the ruling coalition.[3]

In opinion of Yossi Shain and Juan J. Linz, provisional governments can be classified to four groups:[4]

  1. Revolutionary provisional governments (when the former regime is overthrown and the power belongs to the people who have overthrown it).
  2. Power sharing provisional governments (when the power is shared between former regime and the ones who are trying to change it).
  3. Incumbent provisional governments (when the power during transitional period belongs to the former regime).
  4. International provisional governments (when the power during the transitional period belongs to the international community).

The establishment of provisional governments is frequently tied to the implementation of transitional justice.[5] Decisions related to transitional justice can determine who is allowed to participate in a provisional government.[citation needed]

The early provisional governments were created to prepare for the return of royal rule. Irregularly convened assemblies during the English Revolution, such as Confederate Ireland (1641–49), were described as "provisional". The Continental Congress, a convention of delegates from 13 British colonies on the east coast of North America became the provisional government of the United States in 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. The government shed its provisional status in 1781, following ratification of the Articles of Confederation, and continued in existence as the Congress of the Confederation until it was supplanted by the United States Congress in 1789.

The practice of using "provisional government" as part of a formal name can be traced to Talleyrand's government in France in 1814. In 1843, American pioneers in the Oregon Country, in the Pacific Northwest region of North America established the Provisional Government of Oregon—as the U.S. federal government had not yet extended its jurisdiction over the region—which existed until March 1849. The numerous provisional governments during the Revolutions of 1848 gave the word its modern meaning: A liberal government established to prepare for elections.

  1. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer". Archived from the original on 2019-06-08. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  2. ^ "caretaker government". Credo Reference. Dictionary of politics and government. Archived from the original on 1 June 2022. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b Shain(1) Linz(2), Yossi(1) Linz(2) (January 1992). "The Role of Interim Governments". Journal of Democracy. 3: 73–79. doi:10.1353/jod.1992.0012. S2CID 153562287.
  4. ^ Yossi Shain, Juan J. Linz, "Between States: Interim Governments in Democratic Transitions", 1995, ISBN 9780521484985 [1] Archived 2018-03-13 at the Wayback Machine, p. 5
  5. ^ McAuliffe, Padraig (1 September 2010). "Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law". Ague Journal of the Rule of Law. doi:10.1017/S1876404510200015. S2CID 154281455.

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