Provisional government

A provisional government also called an interim or transitional government 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2]

In opinion of Yossi Shain and Juan J. Linz, provisional governments can be classified to four groups:[3]

  1. Revolutionary provisional governments (when the former regime is overthrown and the power belongs to the ones 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.[4] Decisions related to transitional justice can determine who is allowed to participate in a provisional government.[5]

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 practice of using "provisional government" as part of a formal name can be traced to Talleyrand's government in France in 1814. The numerous provisional governments during the Revolutions of 1848 gave the word its modern meaning: A liberal government established to prepare for elections. The most notable provisional government was the Russian Provisional Government in 1917


Examples of provisional governments active in the 20th and 21st centuries are:

Provisional governments were also established throughout Europe as occupied nations were liberated from Nazi occupation by the Allies.

See also


  1. "caretaker government". Credo Reference. Dictionary of politics and government. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  2. 1 2 Shain(1) Linz(2), Yossi(1) Linz(2) (January 1992). "The Role of Interim Governments". Journal of Democracy. doi:10.1353/jod.1992.0012.
  3. Yossi Shain, Juan J. Linz, "Between States: Interim Governments in Democratic Transitions", 1995, ISBN 9780521484985 , p. 5
  4. McAuliffe, Padraig (09/01/2010). "Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law". ague Journal of the Rule of Law. doi:10.1017/S1876404510200015. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. Dyzenhaus, David (2001–2004). "udicial Independence, Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law". Otago Law Review.
  6. Sayigh, Yezid (1999). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 624. ISBN 9780198296430. "The Palestinian National Council also empowered the central council to form a government-in-exile when appropriate, and the executive committee to perform the functions of government until such time as a government-in-exile was established."
  7. United Nations General Assembly Session 67 Resolution 19. A/RES/67/19 Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  8. "The Palestinian Authority".
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