Benevolent dictatorship

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Types of government

A Benevolent Dictatorship, historically known by the ideological or philosophical name Enlightened Absolutism, is a form of dictatorship. Although the fundamentals of government are the same as a dictatorship, Benevolent Dictatorships are characterized by higher political freedoms and civil rights amongst residents of the state in question. Typically, a Benevolent Dictatorship promotes freedom of speech, demonstration, press, religion and/or thought and is considerably less oppressive than an authoritarian dictatorship. A benevolent dictator may allow for some democratic decision-making to exist, such as through public referendums.

The label is often applied to the former leader of Yugoslavia, Josip Tito,[1] although many others have criticized him as being authoritarian and a violator of human rights.[2][3]


Many dictators' regimes portray themselves as benevolent, often tending to regard democratic regimes as messy, inefficient and corrupt, but few are widely viewed as such outside their country or supporters.[citation needed]

In the Spanish language, the pun word dictablanda is sometimes used for a dictatorship conserving some of the liberties and mechanisms of democracy. The pun is that, in Spanish, dictadura is "dictatorship", dura is "hard" and blanda is "soft". Analogously, the same pun is made in Portuguese as ditabranda. In February 2009, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo ran an editorial classifying the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964–1985) as a "ditabranda", creating controversy.[4]

In micronationalism

While large amounts of civil rights are practiced in most micronations, benevolent dictatorships are not very common, with the concept usually being discarded in favor of Monarchy. In non-monarchial states, however, benevolent dictatorship is more common, especially when said country lacks people. The Republic of Ultamiya was one example of a benevolent dictatorship, with the qualities of such a government type embedded in its Constitution.

However there are a few examples of benevolent dictatorships in the form of Monarchy, commonly known as the above mentioned Enlightened Monarchy. An example is the Kingdom of New Anglia, when the government (The Royal Council) is inactive the reigning monarch is given full powers in all three branches of government, when the government is active, the legislative and judicial power are removed and separated. If certain ministers in charge of branches are unaccounted for then the monarch retains the powers of those branches. Another example in this instance is the Despotate of Vlasynia, where the Despot holds absolute and unrestricted power within the state.


  1. Shapiro, Susan; Shapiro, Ronald (2004). The Curtain Rises: Oral Histories of the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1672-6. 
    "...All Yugoslavs had educational opportunities, jobs, food, and housing regardless of nationality. Tito, seen by most as a benevolent dictator, brought peaceful co-existence to the Balkan region, a region historically synonymous with factionalism."
  2. Andjelic, Neven (2003). Bosnia-Herzegovina: The End of a Legacy. Frank Cass. p. 36. ISBN 0-7146-5485-X. 
  3. Tierney, Stephen (2000). Accommodating National Identity: New Approaches in International and Domestic Law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 90-411-1400-9. 
  4. Ribeiro, Igor (February 25, 2009). "A "ditabranda" da Folha". Portal Imprensa.