A republic (Latin: res publica) is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a monarch. In American English, the definition of a republic refers specifically to a form of government in which elected individuals represent the citizen body and exercise power according to the rule of law under a constitution, including separation of powers with an elected head of state, referred to as a Constitutional republic or representative democracy. As of 2017, 159 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names – not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor is the word "republic" used in the names of all nations with elected governments. While heads-of-state often tend to claim that they rule only by the "consent of the governed", elections in some countries have been found to be held more for the purpose of "show" than for the actual purpose of in reality providing citizens with any genuine ability to choose their own leaders. The term republic was first coined c. 500 BC in Rome, but over time the term has undergone several changes in meaning. Initially the Latin term res publica signified the earlier "partial form of democracy" as found in Rome from c. 500 BC until c.
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