Unitary Form of Government, Definition & Characteristics of Unitary State

Sat, 02/09/2013 - 08:11 -- Umar Farooq

Definition of Unitary form of Government

Unitary form of Government is a converse of federation and is a system in which all powers are centralized in the hands of a central government. A single central government controls the whole state with full might. Although the state is divided in provinces and other units but these divisions are administrative in their nature. These sub-divisions completely work under the supervision and control of the central government. In unitary form of government, the political authority is centralized. Unitary State is useful in those states where there are no strong nationalities or in the small states.

Characteristics of Unitary Form of Government

Following are the features, attributes and characteristics of unitary state for government

Centralization of Powers

In unitary system, all powers are centralized in the hands of the central government and only center is the reservoir of all state powers. In this system, there is no a province or provincial governments and constitution empower the central government to legislate, execute and adjudicate with full might. There is no any other institution to share governmental powers with the central government. On one side, central government has full powers to rule without any external pressure and runs the state administration with confidence without any fear and terror. On the other hand, the rulers exercise their powers in absolute way without any check. Centralization of powers is itself an administrative problem. Although in many unitary States, there is local government system arrangement but powers are delegated to these units with strict central control or supervision.

Single and Simple Government

Unitary form of government is very simple system. With the exception of Britain, there are neither provincial assemblies and executives nor the upper chambers at the center. There is a single central government at the center. There is unicameral legislature popularly elected. Central legislature is to legislate, executive to execute and judiciary to adjudicate without any share. Their expenses are less and state is run with a unified command. Upper chambers are usually expensive and' weak states cannot afford it expenses. So, it is a simple and understandable system. The common citizens easily, understand its structure and powers.

Uniformity of Laws

Another characteristic of unitary form of government, that laws of unitary system, unlike federation, are uniform because laws are made only by a single central government for the whole state. Laws made by the centre are equally enforced in the rest of the state without any territorial distinction while in federation nature of law varies from province to province. So, uniformity of laws in the unitary set-up is according to the principles of justice and nature of human beings. In federation, sometimes sharp contrast is seen in the laws of the same nature, which complicates the situation.

No Distribution of Powers


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