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Hereditary Republic
Most countries today are republics, wherein the leaders are elected (or at least pretend to be).

There are, however, some republics in which the power resides in the hands of a single family, just as it would in a monarchy, except they refer to their leaders by republican titles (usually president), and there is no actual law stating that the succession works thusly. It usually overlaps with Just the First Citizen.

It gets hazy around the edges when the dynasty merely occupies most positions, or there are several Blue Blood families that frequently rotate through the same office.

Not quite the same as the People's Republic of Tyranny; that's when the country doesn't seem to fit the "democratic" or "people's" descriptor. Hereditary Republic is when it's the "Republic" part that's in doubt. May even have a President for Life in charge.

Inverse of Elective Monarchy.


Fan Works
  • The Head Of State of St. Galleria, Governor Aquila, himself admits that this is the case with St. Galleria in The Tainted Grimoire.

  • The Honor Harrington books feature a few of these (of course):
    • The People's Republic of Haven had a sort of nobility in the form of the Legislaturalists, the powerful families that made up the constantly-elected leadership of the nation. Their leader was Hereditary President Harris until he and most of the rest of the Legislaturalists were assassinated as part of a coup by what would become the Committee of Public Safety.
    • The Republic of Monica, which features in the later books, has a similar form of government, though they maintained that their their leader, President Tyler, had been legitimately elected for every consecutive term he served. Just like his father and grandfather had. And just like his son would be.
  • In Foundation, The Republic of Korell and for a time the Foundation itself.
  • In Space Viking, Trask meets a shocked young man who has just become "Hereditary President of the Democratic Republic of Tetragrammaton", thanks to his father's death at the hands of Dunnan's raiders.
  • In Russell Kirk's A Creature Of The Twlight: Following the murder of President/Sultan Ali by "certain disemboweling progress-evangels", the Loyalists proclaim his son Achmet as "Hereditary President of Hamnegri and Sultan in Kalidu."
  • Happens to the United States in the science-fiction short story Vilcabamba by Harry Turtledove. Aliens invade Earth and the US president Harris Moffatt flees to the Rockies, where he governs a rump United States (and Canada, since he is also bestowed the title of Prime Minister by Canadian refugees) for life. He is succeeded by his son, President Harris Moffatt II, and his grandson, Harris Moffatt III, until the latter is defeated in war by the aliens and the rump USA extinguished. Mention is also made of Harris Moffatt III's son and presumed heir, Harris Moffatt IV.
  • In Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat Runs For President, Slippery Jim argues for republics with a noble by saying it can work to keep the incompetent nobles out of positions; you can juggle things so that the plebians keep on electing the right sort of Blue Blood.
  • The StarCraft expanded universe states that this was the case for the Confederacy of Man. It was ostensibly a democracy, but in truth an oligarchy of few rich, powerful families ran the place. This was then overthrown during the course of the Terran campaign in the first game and replaced with a garden-variety dictatorship under Arcturus Mengsk.
  • In Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels the Rihan (Romulan) government is run as an aristocratic council system, with deihuin (senators) and fvillhuin (praetors) inheriting their posts from their parents (except if there's no clear heir or when there's dishonor involved). About the only way constituents have of influencing their representatives is by pressuring them to commit suicide if they're doing a bad job (and assassinating them if they don't kill themselves when their constituents start mailing them swords).

Live Action Television
  • The Centauri Republic on Babylon 5 is very much this trope, with a legislative body that has some power, but much of the Republic's power rests in the hands of the Emperor and his family.

Tabletop RPG
  • Classic Traveller supplement The Traveller Adventure, adventure "The Wolf at the Door". On the planet Aramanx the Republic of Lanax has three co-equal heads of state. Originally they were selected by a democratically elected Administrative Council, but after a "political reorganization" at least two of the three positions are always held by members of the Klaven family, which gives them control of the country.
  • Shadowrun supplement Tir na Nog. The government of the title country (which used to be called Ireland) appears to be democratic, but is actually under the control of the Danann Families.
  • Most of the major Inner Sphere factions in BattleTech have names like "The Federated Suns" and "Lyran Commonwealth" but otherwise they are quite openly feudal.

Video Games
  • Fallout: New Vegas: if you ask Caesar what he thinks about the New California Republic, he will point out that President Tandi served for 52 years without interruption, and that the previous president was her father. He describes this as a "hereditary dictatorship" and the best part of the NCR's history. Averted in the case of her son Hoss, who did not take over after his mother.
  • In Crusader Kings 2, you can play as several trade Republics, such as Pisa or Venice. Only the head of one of five families can be elected to the office, and much of your job is making sure to play this trope as straight as possible. On occasion, you or your vassals will create titles labelled as "The Republic of X", with the same hereditary succession laws that came before it.

Real Life

Hoo, boy...

  • North Korea. The first General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (which made him the leader) was Kim Il-sung. The next was Kim Jong-il, his son. After his death, his son Kim Jong-un, was announced as the successor. Oh, and Kim Il-sung is still president, years after his death.
    • North Korea doesn't quite operate like a "normal" hereditary monarchy, as Kim Jong-un is actually Kim Jong-il's youngest son. What happened to Jong-un's two older brothers? Well, the eldest brother was disowned by the family for trying to sneak into Tokyo Disneyland. And Kim Jong-il thought his middle son was "no good because he is like a little girl". Kim Jong-un also has an older sister, but she was obviously never in the running in North Korea's highly patriarchal society.
  • The Republic of Nicaragua had the Somoza dictatorship, that ran from 1934 to 1979.
  • The Roman Republic ended up like this, with a handful of families passing the post of consul between them.
  • England (and Wales), Scotland and Ireland were a republic under Oliver Cromwell, who was succeeded by his son Richard, though this was mainly because Cromwell most emphatically refused the crown that Parliament was fully prepared to offer him. Other than that he was the King in everything but name.
  • Haiti's François Duvalier was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier.
  • Syria, where Hafez al-Assad handed off power to his son Bashar, and had originally been planning to have his eldest son Bassel succeed him before Bassel died in a car crash.
  • Averted by Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak might well have left the presidency to his younger son Gamal had it not been for the Arab Spring. Indeed, trying to avert this was one of the main reasons Egyptians revolted in the first place—although it's likely that there would have been a revolution anyway even if Mubarak had promised not to give Gamal the presidency. You see, the hereditary succession was seen more as a symbol of the regime's corruption, and while most Egyptians were opposed to the idea on principle, most would also admit that they wouldn't have had much of a problem with it if it didn't occur in the context of a corrupt, authoritarian, and cynical regime.
  • Raul succeeded his brother Fidel Castro as President of Cuba. Subverted in that Raul was a leading political figure in his own right and that none of the politicians tipped as likely successors are related to the Castro brothers.
  • Azerbaijan. The previous president, Heydar Aliyev, made his son Ilkham the next president.
  • The United States has had several political dynasty families (generally at state or local levels of government) with associated political machines (and sometimes with high levels of corruption and patronage). These include the Daleys of Chicago, the Byrds of Virginia, the Kennedys of Massachusetts, the Sullivans of Alaska, the Udalls of the Western US, or the Tafts of Ohio.
  • When the Democrats were choosing a candidate for the 2008 election, it was noted that if Hillary Clinton became president, and served two terms, the USA would have been ruled for 28 years by members of two families.
    • Then subverted when she wasn't nominated. Though she was later appointed Secretary of State.
      • With some Republicans now calling for Jeb Bush to run for President in 2016, one can't avoid imagining an Alternate Timeline where Hillary Clinton became president only to be succeeded by another President Bush. As is, the Bush family includes two senators, a Supreme Court Justice, two governors, and two presidents, along with many less notable politicians.
    • There has been three cases when a president has been the descendant of a previous one: John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush were the sons of John Adams and George H.W. Bush, respectively, while Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison.
      None, however, directly succeeded their ancestors. Dubya came closest—he entered office "only" eight years and one intervening presidency (that of Bill Clinton) after his father left it and George H.W. Bush lived to see his son serve out both terms. Meanwhile, there were three presidents between the two Adamsnote  and John Adams himself died in the second year of his son's presidency, while William Henry Harrison famously didn't live out his own term, never mind see his grandson enter the White House 48 years later.
  • When Senator Frank Murkowski of Alaska was elected Governor in 2002, he gained the right to appoint the replacement who would finish his term in the Senate. He appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, who went on to be elected in her own right.
  • All the Stadholders of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), while theoretically elected, were members of the House of Orange-Nassau and served for life. After the Napoleonic Wars the Netherlands were made into an outright kingdom with the Orange-Nassau as its royal house, which has remained on the throne up to this day.
  • India has the Nehru–Gandhi family: Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son Rajiv Gandhi have all been Prime Ministers of India (the latter two were both assassinated). Furthermore Rajiv's widow Sonia Gandhi is the current President of India's Congress Party, while their son Rahul is its General Secretary. Surprisingly, not related to Mahatma Gandhi since Gandhi is a relatively commonplace surname in India, and Indira Gandhi's husband Feroze, who adopted his mother's last name of Gandhy, changed the spelling for that of the man himself to honor him.
  • And Pakistan has the Bhuttos: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto were both Prime Ministers of Pakistan. After the latter's assassination her husband was elected President and their son made chairman of the Pakistan People's Party.
  • Greece's politics can also be very dynastic. The most famous instances of these being the multiple Papandreous (Giorgios, his son Andreas, his grandson Giorgios) and Karamanlises (Konstantinos, Konstantinos Androu "Kostas") who have served as Prime Ministers or Presidents.
  • The Roman Empire, at least at first. Augustus Caesar was, after all, only the Republic's First Citizen (term to become "prince" later), and all through his dynasty, there was juggling of the actual offices held. The pretense slid away slowly.
  • Venice, Genoa, San Marino and many other of Italy's city states of the Middle Ages started as republics, but with time the positions of power ended up in the hands of a few families (San Marino resisted until the seventeenth century). Eventually most of them became first lordships and then duchies (or were absorbed by those who became duchies), with the exceptions of Venice and Genoa, that remained Hereditary Republics until the end, and San Marino, that reverted to an actual republic in 1906,

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