Types of government:

Monarchy: a state ruled by a king or queen. There are also countries that have a monarchy, but the monarch is not the ruler, e.g. The United Kingdom.
Republic: a state governed by representatives (= men or women chosen by the people) and a president, e.g. USA or France. People who believe in this system are republicans.
Democracy: a system of government in which leaders are chosen by the people, e.g. France or the UK. People who believe in this system are democrats.
Dictatorship: a system of government in which one person rules the country (= one person has total power). This person is called a dictator.

Political beliefs:

Political positions:

What does it mean to be a socialist or a conservative? Often, it means different things in different countries, but in Britain we often talk about someone’s political position like this:


In a democracy, people vote for (= they choose in a formal way / elect) the political party (e.g. conservatives, liberals or socialists) that they want to form (= make) the government. They do this in an election, and in many countries elections take place / are held (= they happen) every four or five years.
42% voted for the socialists in the last election (= the socialists got 42% of the votes). The president was elected two years ago.


Political systems are different all over the world. In the UK, when a political party wins a majority (= 51% or more) of seats (= official positions in parliament) in an election, they become the government of the country, their leader (= the head of the party / person in control) becomes Prime Minister and they are in power.

The government must have policies (= programmes of action) to run (= manage) the country. This means, for example, an economic policy (for the economy), and a foreign policy (for actions taken by the country in other parts of the world).