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Some words in favour of monarchy

By Lorenzo

I rather like monarchy.  I like the pomp and ceremony. I like the sense of continuity. (The Papacy, the Japanese monarchy, the English monarchy and the Danish monarchy are the oldest political institutions on the planet; the English coronation ceremony has elements that date back to Anglo-Saxon times.) I like monarchy’s capacity to separate the power from the glory. I am well aware of precisely how dubious the antecedents of monarchies are (and the older, the more dubious). But, then, the antecedents of an awful lot of non-monarchies are fairly dubious too.

In Morocco …
In the Islamic Middle East, for example, the better places to live are the monarchies. (Well, not Saudi Arabia, but that is a bit of a special case, it being a jihadi state which happens to be a monarchy.) Journalist Michael Totten’s recent piece on constitutional progress in Morocco is a useful reminder of the value of monarchy.

The young King Mohammad VI, who succeeded his highly autocratic father Hassan II in 1999, decided the kingdom needed a serious constitution. So the king appointed a:

…  nineteen-person judicial council that drafted a new constitution that was ratified in 2011. …

Of the nineteen people on the judicial council, five were women, one was Jewish, one was from the Sahara, one was from the Islamic ulema, one came from the magistracy, five were professors of constitutional law, and the rest were professors of political science. A handful were prisoners during the lead years of Hassan II. …

The second committee—the one made up of representatives from the trade unions and political parties—was not as liberal as the king’s hand-picked committee.

It can be good to have a King

A Muslim Middle Eastern state with a Jew on the committee drafting the constitution. Where more than a quarter are women. The contrast with, say, Egypt, which did some constitution writing recently, is striking.

The Alaouite dynasty first ruled a unified Morocco in the late C17th. Claiming descent from the Prophet, the dynasty has a lot of history behind it. It also has anti-colonialism credentials, since the current King’s grandfather, Mohammad V, led resistance to the French (and spent a few years in exile as a result). Credentials currently being put to good use:

Nadia Bernoussi, the law professor who helped draft the new constitution, grumbled a bit about how some foreigners see Morocco’s democratic reforms as a sham.

“Well,” I said. “The king wasn’t elected.”

She was taken aback by my bluntness, and I felt slightly rude saying it, but it’s true and every single Westerner in the world who looks at Morocco’s political system notices that and takes it into account. It is the most salient feature of her country’s government from our point of view.

“It’s true that the king isn’t elected,” she said, “but he has a different kind of legitimacy. He has national, historic, and Islamic legitimacy.”

This isn’t the sort of political sentiment Americans like me can relate to, but I did hear something I could understand and appreciate easily. When I asked uncovered Moroccan women if they fear the Islamists, they all said they did not. (In Tunisia and Egypt the uncovered women I know absolutely fear the Islamists.) But even the feminists in Morocco aren’t afraid of the Islamists. And when I asked why, all of them said “because of the king.”

While Islamists come in various shades, the most problematic, the fundamentalists, are modernists; folk who reject the inheritance of the past in favour of current conceptions, who believe the new is always better than the old. In their insistence in going back to the original “pure” Islam the fundamentalists reject all the painful process of learning that has occurred since. Traditional Islam is, in fact, their enemy. As one can see on display in the Timbuktu cultural vandalism from the Mali islamists or the cultural vandalism in Mecca under the al-Saud. Which is why the Saudi monarchy does not fit the pattern of the other monarchies, because it is so tied in with Wahhabi fundamentalism. It is a modernist, not a traditionalist, monarchy. (What the Taliban did in Afghanistan, what the Islamists have been doing in northern Mali and what the al-Saud have imposed in their realm have considerable similarities.)

The traditions in Morocco do incorporate a process of learning:

Morocco is still in many ways a conservative Muslim society, but the traditions it is conserving aren’t the same as they are everywhere else in the region. The country has a strong moderate Sufi current, and the religion as practiced and understood there has long been influenced by ideas from Sub-Saharan Africa and from Europe, which is only eleven miles away. Plenty of uncovered women are out and about in the streets. I didn’t see a single woman with her face covered the entire time I was there. Female genital mutilation, with an incidence rate somewhere between 78-97 percent in Egypt, doesn’t even exist in Morocco.

The elected, unveiled, Mayor of Marrakech

A process of learning that now includes democratisation. As Fatima Zahra Mansouri, the elected mayor of Marrakesh told Totten:

“We had the French protectorate period,” she continued, “but after independence we built our own institutions. And now we are building democracy. Democracy isn’t something that’s just declared. It has to be built. We have the separation of powers. And we will never tolerate radical Islam because our traditions here have been moderate for ten centuries. Look, Morocco is stable. We have a secular system. We have strong institutions and a growing economy. We are known as the door to Africa. We have so much cultural diversity here and I think we can turn into a model of human development. You have to live here to fully appreciate it. We can’t adopt a Western style of government yet, but we can strike a balance between who and what we are and what we will have to become.”

With the king providing a sense of continuity.

And in Syria …
The King has a view on the Syrian troubles, and is happy to publicly express it at a conference in Marrakech:

A messenger from His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco hands me a pamphlet with a statement from the palace written in four languages. Helpful! Something for me to work with. The King of Morocco isn’t impressed with Bashar al-Assad. Doesn’t think he’s a reformer. Doesn’t think he’s a crucial part of the peace process. Of the war there he says, “This particularly serious and tragic situation is calling out to the conscience of mankind, given the ever-growing numbers of dead and wounded, tortured citizens, displaced persons and refugees. The numbers are set to increase dramatically if there is no resolute international reaction, especially as the Syrian regime has threatened to resort to weapons of mass destruction.”

Morocco is urging the United Nations Security Council to support a regime-change. That’s my phrase, not the king’s, but that’s what he’s saying. “I therefore call upon Security Council member states…to support the transfer of power in Syria for the establishment of a democratic multi-party system in which all representatives and components of the Syrian people would be involved.”

The al-Assad; hereditary rule without the good bits

Yes, the openly hereditary monarch who knows what real constitutional reform looks like has a view about the al-Assad family autocracy in the “Republic” of Syria. Other “republics” currently headed by family regimes are Cuba and North Korea. (Qaddafi of Libya, Mubarak of Egypt and Saddam Hussein of Iraq all seemed to have intended succession-by-son). But none of these are remotely traditional monarchies. All are in fact ruling modernist regimes, whether fascist (al-Assad Syria), Leninist (Castroist Cuba) or Stalinist (Kim Family Regime North Korea). The Syrian civil war has probably killed about 60,000 people–so more than the Arab-Israeli conflict which so obsess folk.

Meanwhile, the Bahraini monarchy appointed a Jewish woman as its ambassador to the US. Clever, really, but not an option any Islamic republic is likely to take up. But a traditional monarchy has, well, traditional credentials and so more room to manuoevre in such matters.

A much more dubious distinction for the Kingdom of Bahrain is that it was the only monarchy troubled by the Arab Spring. The problem not being poverty as much as Sunni domination of a Shia majority plus corruption and the frustrated aspirations to a more open politics that go with sectarian autocracy.

Arab Spring troubles dictators
Even so, the Arab Spring was much more a revolt against republican autocrats. As Elliot Abrams put it, the pattern was Dictators Go, Monarchs Stay:

Free elections have chosen new governments in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. When it comes, the fall of the Assad regime in Syria will mean elections there, too. The fake republics of the Arab world are going or gone, except for Algeria—where the army rules behind the façade of a “civilian” president. The Algerian military elites are known as le pouvoir, the power, in a system that Mubarak would have viewed as perfectly appropriate. There are elections, but everyone understands they are not sérieux.

Adam Garfinkle makes a similar point in explaining the loneliness of the Algerian regime, as the last “progressive” secularist military regime left standing in the Muslim Middle East, apart from the decaying al-Assad regime in Syria.

The contrast with the brutal way the Algerian republic dealt with (if that is the phrase) its Islamists winning an election and how the Hashemite monarchy of Jordan dealt with the same is stark, to say the least.

Happy to have Omanis read about how things are, particularly elsewhere

There are deceased monarchies in the Middle East–Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen. But the post-monarchy experiences in those countries have not been happy ones. They were also mostly relatively recent dynasties and, in the case of Egypt and Iraq, foreign ones. (The one longstanding dynasty, Yemen, took a civil war with significant foreign intervention to dislodge.) The failure of those monarchies provide salutary lessons for sitting monarchs while what followed the fall of said monarchs should give pause to their subjects. The Sultan of Oman, for example, seems to be very comfortable with a free press as accurate news about the Middle East makes the Sultan’s liberal and prosperous rule look pretty good by comparison. In the Sultan’s Wikipedia entry, the section on his personal life begins:

Qaboos bin Said is an avid fan and promoter of classical music.

After a brief, childless marriage to a cousin, the Sultan has remained unmarried. Can we read the code? It is a feature of hereditary rule that it places folk of various sexualities on thrones by dint of the genetic and congenital diversity of humans. As well as, of course, (where it is not barred) women. Something, until very recently, republics were not much good at and monarchies remain well ahead in.

Vagaries and benefits of inheritance
Monarchy means inherited office, and rules of inheritance have their vagaries. The Kingdom of Hanover had semi-Salic law. This blocked Queen Victoria ascending to its throne. This meant that its monarchy was separated from the British monarchy upon her accession in 1837. Her uncle Ernest Augustus took the Hanoverian throne, taking an autocratic view of monarchy which was continued by his son George V.  In 1866, the Hanoverian Parliament wanted to accede to the Prussian demand for unarmed neutrality in the Austro-Prussian conflict. George refused, Prussia invaded and abolished the Hanoverian monarchy, absorbing Hanover into the Kingdom of Prussia. If Hanover had remained in personal union with the Crown of the United Kingdom that would have, to say the least, complicated Bismarck‘s drive to unify non-Habsburg Germany.

But inherited office also means long time horizons. Though subject to normal human failings, the long time horizons of monarchy is one of its distinct advantages. As economist Mancur Olson pointed out that, the longer the time horizon of the ruler, the more their interests tended to converge with those of their subjects. One tends to be somewhat more careful and accommodating the longer you and your children are going to be living with the consequences of your decisions. Of the three major Axis powers, the two monarchies (the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan) found it easier to exit from fighting precisely because they were monarchies; there was someone with sufficient authority to say enough!. Nazi Germany had to wait until Hitler was dead (and assassination proved to be a less reliable alternative).

Not that long time horizons are enough in themselves. The Kim Family Regime (now in its third generation of rulers) seems to have gained rigidity, rather than flexibility, from its hereditary succession. But it is very much a modernist regime with the rulers more Theocrats-in-Chief than anything like a traditional monarchy (some analysts class the ruling ideology, Juche, as a religion, since it has an eternal President and now an eternal Secretary-General). The trouble with ruling in the name of eternal persons is you are rather confined by their precedents and, in such a completely totalitarian society, said precedents are all-pervasive. Creating a very strange, tyrannical and oppressive society.

The more traditional “the King/Queen is dead, long live the King/Queen” says “it’s all yours now”. Indeed, a judicious “being your own person” can be a great way to relieve certain stresses. This has a long history. The idea of getting the merchants to elect delegates to be consulted on matters fiscal goes back to Alfonso IX of Leon in the late C12th early C13th and involved explaining that the previous ruler (his Dad) had screwed up the finances, so … An idea that seems to have spread to England a bit later. Wrapping change in the aura of tradition is something monarchy can do particularly effectively. This balancing of continuity and change is precisely what the Moroccan monarchy is currently engaged in. The utility of monarchy as a social anchor is not lightly to be cast aside.

The Dynasts’ War
The Great War of 1914-1919 was by far monarchy’s greatest failure. Calling it ‘World War One’ is a foolish title, it was by no means the first world war. Consider the War of the Austrian Succession and Macaulay‘s evocative words about Frederick the Great:

In order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America.

It was much more the Dynasts’ War because it was so much driven by the fears of the Hohenzollern, Habsburg and Romanov regimes about the implications of demotic politics–democracy and nationalism. All ruled realms whose borders were defined by nothing other than which territories the dynasties had managed to acquire and hold–so conflicted with the claims of nationalism–and sought to hold off democratic threats to their authority (or to the privileges of those who hid behind monarchial authority).

But all three monarchies paid for their gross failure by being overthrown and, in the case of the one “bloody-handed tyrant” of the three, Tsar Nicholas II, being killed along with his family. Shot in a cellar in the sort of gangster-execution one would expect from the ideological gangsters who succeeded him. And, who, of course, were far worse than he. As has often proved to be the case. (They were also, btw, far worse economic managers; the Soviet economy never achieved the growth rates managed by the Russian Empire under Nicholas, one of the more unimpressive Tsars.)

Queen Elizabeth II doing something that Queen Elizabeth I did in a barge named after her

Comfort in continuity
Monarchies, like all else, are subject to selection pressures. Which brings us back to those long time horizons. Separating the power and the glory, wrapping change in the aura of tradition, providing the comfort of continuity, providing a social anchor. These are not small benefits. The British monarchy even provides a sort of quiet internationalism in spreading itself around so many realms.

And the role of monarchy in an evolved political system can be remarkably hard to unpick, if you do not want to make things worse. As the attempts to turn the Australian monarchy into a republic discovered.

In 1969, an opinion poll found 18% support for republicanism in the UK.  In 2007, an opinion poll found 18% support for republicanism in the UK, a stable result only briefly (and mildly) disturbed by the outpouring over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. There is much more good sense in that than many too-clever folk seem to grasp.

Yes, I rather like monarchy.

25 Comments

  1. Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    For the uncovered women, I pray for the long healthy life of the King of Morocco.

    Sorry Lory, but the meaning of this sentence ‘The problem not being poverty as Sunni domination of a Shia majority plus corruption and the frustrated aspirations to a more open politics that go with sectarian autocracy.’ – evaded me.

    Am very fond of Her Maj and hope she outlives me. I voted NO in ‘that’ referendum when the instigators thought all Labor voters would vote YES.

  2. Posted January 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    AoD@1 Oops, a couple of missing words. Hopefully it makes more sense now.

    I handed out how “vote No” how-to-votes on referendum day.

  3. Posted January 26, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    LE@3: When one compares the quality of the incumbent and preceding three monarchs with the ..er… quality of the incumbent and preceding three governors-general, one does not find much to support your case for scrapping the monarch & running with just the G-G.

    Very much the opposite in fact.

  4. foxy
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    tourist value

  5. Nigel Davies
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Monarchs can be good or bad of course, like any other ruler.
    But the point Lorenzo doesn’t harp on enough is the time horizon.
    Elected rulers have a time window of at best a few years (our most recent example appears to limit that to about two months… sometimes).
    Autocrats plan for decades (Ie: Presidents who expect to hand on to children – See most ‘elected Presidents’ in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, parts of Eastern Europe, Asia and South America).
    Monarchs (even dim ones) usually plan for their grandchildren and great grandchildren, ie centuries.
    Personally I think absolute monarchs almost as dangerous as absolute democracy (read dictatorship – which is 90% of all historical republics 90% of the time), but Constitutional Monarchies have all the safeguards the two extremes lack.
    Two comments on Republics.
    First, the average life expectancy of the 200+republics of the last couple of centuries has been less than 20 years before collapsing into dictatorship, civil war or genocide (compared to the average Constitutional Monarchy that has been stable for over 200 years).
    Second, please choose which of these geographically and culturally matched sets you would want to live in::
    Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands vs Poland, Italy or France.
    Spain (republic) vs Spain (monarchy)
    Gulf state monarchies vs Iraq or Iran
    Thailand or Malaysia vs Burma or Vietnam
    Japan vs China or North Korea
    Republics are demonstrably the worst form of government in human history, and it would take a complete moron (or someone who has never bothered to do any basic research) to think that any country (let alone ours) would be better off with a republican system.
    (Before anyone raises the so called successes, France has had five (5!) republics plus a couple of bad monarchies and two or three dictatorships in the last two centuries, and the US has had an appalling civil war and is currently hardly a desirable model of how politics should work. The only ‘successful’ republics I can think of have been under both constant threat – concentrates the mind – and usually have occupying armies – South Korea, Germany, Israel etc.)

  6. kvd
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    An interesting post Lorenzo, and one I agree with. I also like Nigel’s comments – assuming by ‘republic’ he means any/all forms of government without ‘royalty’ being in the mix. But a couple of comments on LE’s comments:

    What’s so bad about Prince Charles that you feel his succession to be a killer for maintaining the institution? And secondly the answer to your @8 is buried in Lorenzo’s first link (referencing Orwell’s thoughts) where Orwell concludes ” the idea of the King and the common people being in a sort of alliance against the upper classes…”

    Anyway, what’s not to like about having a Head of State named after a ship? A brief but glorious career, worthy of respect and celebration.

  7. Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Lorenzo @1 – what a relief to me. I was feeling very witless in failing to understand.
    KVD@9 – 1. he took 7 volumes of Laurens van der post on his honeymoon with a hot young chick. 2. Bad Judgement (a)he made an 85-y-o LVD the godfather of his son (even the mother outlived LVD). this is an eye-opener that Skeptic will enjoy reading -
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/03/books/master-storyteller-or-master-deceiver.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    3. Bad judgement (b) Camilla. he did not have the guts to just marry her in 1973, and look what that set in train.

  8. Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    my previous comment relates to Charles part of KVD comment.

    SL re ‘ if the monarchs don’t have any actual power in a governmental sense, how can the long-term aspects of their reign have any impact on the way in which a country is governed in the long term?”
    Can it be that the westminster system etc acts as a governor, a restraint on whichever Narcissistic Personality Disorder is PM of AUS at any given time. we are just dumb-lucky Her Maj has lasted so long.

  9. Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    oops. ‘SL’ above should read ‘LE’.
    it’s @gin_oclock

  10. kvd
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    AOD@10 if that’s the worst you can come up with from a life lived in the permanent gaze of the most invasive press in the world then he’s really not such a bad stick imo. You could have gone the full Hitchens on him; at least that would have provoked the odd wry smile or three – while still just petty sound and fury.

  11. Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    KING implies being on the big horse out the front of everybody and charging forward with guts and determination. Turning back and giving the field at Agincourt ‘the finger’.
    One needs to be more than the ‘not such a bad stick’ which I agree he is, despite hideous parenting, similar to that of his uncle David. I am just reading That Woman a new publication on Wallis and her non-King. full of regal rules.

  12. Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    ‘the full Hitchens’ was pretty teenage girl eg ‘bat eared’ and ‘poor taste in consorts’. CH was known for knocking out 2000 words after regaining consciousness from 24 hours of drinking, and that one must have been one of those days.
    I was member 262 of Austns For Monarchy and dread the thought of a Bambang SudukoYoYo republic. Now that we have, apparently, enough shale oil to give the Saudis that Agincourt finger, all I see is a wolf disguised as the USA, drooling at Julia in a Red Riding Hood outfit. god help us please.

  13. Posted January 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    AOD@15 Shale oil is giving a lot of us who thought peak oil a touch overdone a certain wry amusement. As if the technological dynamism which made oil important in the first place would just stop.

    Then there is algae oil. Profit and ingenuity, it is a powerful combination.

  14. kvd
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Well Ann@14, we differ. Perhaps it’s that I’m not as romantic as you? The modern day equivalent of your description is service in the armed forces (that’s a tick), followed by the unrelenting drudge of being pleasant and mild mannered in the company of people with whom you have little in common, for the benefit of various good causes (also a tick).

    I went to the trouble of reading his wiki entry, and it seems to me he commits the grave crime (much like myself) of being basically unexceptional. In my case that’s a failing; in his, it’s precisely what ‘we loyal subjects’ demand of our regents-with-no-power.

    LE’s suggestion (to simply stop at a GG) is fine as far as it goes, but the thing is, we did all this republic crap a while back, and ‘we the people’ made it quite clear that we did not trust our pollies to nominate a head of state, and they don’t trust us to choose our own. I’d need a more substantive set of reasons to change than the grab-bag of competing interests which were evident in that debate.

    ps re shale oil: I still have those Southern Pacific Petroleum share certificates if anyone’s interested. Pity about the Great Barrier Reef, but there you go…

  15. Posted January 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    kvd@17

    quite clear that we did not trust our pollies to nominate a head of state, and they don’t trust us to choose our own

    The best summary of the republic debate ever ;)

    I would say that kvd wins the internetz for today, but Benjamin Cole already has.

  16. Posted January 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    The ironic thing about the Australian constitutional debate is that, for once, the politicians were the ones with the long term understanding.

    They know that any elected presidency will inevitably become political and will inevitably grow more powerful, regardless of the cuffs any wording might try to clasp on their wrists. And this would forever destroy the good things about our system of government for very little gain.

    Why, incidentally, does such a person have to be called “President”? What’s wrong with leaving it at Governor-General and just writing the Queen out of it?

    I remember this because one of the anti-republican arguments was that the minimal model would require 60-something amendments. But upon closer inspection, almost all of them were “Change ‘President’ to ‘President of the Senate’”.

  17. kvd
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    (the guy you mention, bloody Jimmy Savile)

    Both universally feted, in their day. But never mind that. Let’s pillory “Chaz” because he couldn’t see through what (oh, maybe 70% of) the rest of us were seduced by.

    Seems fair enough to me, although I must admit to not having heard of Jimmy S. before the horror unfolded.

  18. Nigel Davies
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Legal Eagle 8
    In response to your question about monarch with little power.
    Machiavelli – The Discourses – 3 types of govt – Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy, each of which has its negative side – Tyranny, Oligarchy and ‘Licentiousness’. (don’t you love that word?) Hr claims, correctly, that he only way to have a successful government long term is to have the 3 in balance, (ie Constitutional Monarchy… note US attempt to make the divisions – Executive, Congress and Supreme Court has not worked very well over time.)
    And for a sample of monarchical component working even with limited powers, I give you… 1975.
    (Pollies mucking around, GG sacks them and calls an election! EXACTLY how reserve powers should work to protect the long term interests of stability.)

  19. Adrien
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good bet that the monarchies in the Middle East will do better than any ‘democracies’ resulting from post Arab Spring events. Democracy in 17th century Britain would’ve been a disaster.

    I’m not sure you can call the Catholic Church a monarchy. The Pope is one of the cardinals, they pick him. Things is everything’s a monarchy, an oligarchy and a democracy the only thing that changes is the arrangement.

  20. Posted January 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    A@23 The Papacy is technically an elective monarchy. So, btw, is Malaysia. The “High King” is picked by the local monarchs and governors, the conference of rulers. Also Cambodia, as the king is elected from members of the royal family by the Royal throne council.

  21. Posted January 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure you can fairly judge a model of government without giving consideration to the history of how the governments came about. If you have a violent revolution where much of the old structure of government is dismantled then of course the new government will be weak and unstable, regardless of the model used. There needs to be time for the political culture to adapt to the new model and learn the value of democracy. No government model would last if the majority don’t support it.

    quite clear that we did not trust our pollies to nominate a head of state, and they don’t trust us to choose our own

    Maybe we should stick with the current model then, where there needs to be a referendum to change the head of state. Would having an Australian ‘monarch’, replaceable by referendum, be a workable thing?

    They know that any elected presidency will inevitably become political and will inevitably grow more powerful, regardless of the cuffs any wording might try to clasp on their wrists.

    The best way to move towards a republic without the new head of state being able to slowly become more powerful would be to have a hybrid, a middle ground. Something that’s more democratically legitimate than a monarch, but something that’s clearly less legitimate than the democratic parliament. There are a few options I can think of: a really long (20 year) term, appointed for life or even hereditary but removable by a popular vote triggered by parliament, etc.

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