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Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law by Cheryl Saunders, Thomas Fleiner, Mark Tushnet

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6Systems of government

Denis Baranger and Christina Murray

The word ‘government’ has long been used to describe the way collective decisions are taken and implemented in a particular community by specially designated people.1 Be they a single individual, a small group, or the entire community, the decision-makers are called ‘rulers’, while the members of the community are ‘the governed’. People are governed in the sense that their conduct is directed (or influenced) by rules, institutions, and sanctions. The considerable power of the state is exercised through this process in modern democracies.

We are ‘governed’ by many people and institutions, at different levels. ‘Systems of government’ are the different arrangements according to which these ...

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