Personal union

Situation of two states sharing a monarch without merging / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A personal union is a combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct.[1] A real union, by contrast, involves the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. Unlike a personal union, in a federation or a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.[note 1]

The term was coined by German jurist Johann Stephan Pütter, introducing it into Elementa iuris publici germanici (Elements of German Public Law) of 1760.[2]

Personal unions can arise for several reasons, such as:

They can also be codified (i.e., the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall share the same person as head of state) or non-codified, in which case they can easily be broken (e.g., by the death of the monarch when the two states have different succession laws).

The concept of a personal union has only very rarely crossed over from monarchies into republics.

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