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A provisional government, also called an interim government or transitional government, is an emergency governmental authority set up to manage a political transition generally in the cases of new nations or following the collapse of the previous governing administration. Provisional governments are generally appointed, and frequently arise, either during or after civil or foreign wars.
Provisional governments maintain power until a new government can be appointed by a regular political process, which is generally an election. They may be involved with defining the legal structure of subsequent regimes, guidelines related to human rights and political freedoms, the structure of the economy, government institutions, and international alignment. Provisional governments differ from caretaker governments, which are responsible for governing within an established parliamentary system and serve as placeholders following a motion of no confidence, or following the dissolution of the ruling coalition.
In opinion of Yossi Shain and Juan J. Linz, provisional governments can be classified to four groups:
Revolutionary provisional governments (when the former regime is overthrown and the power belongs to the ones who have overthrown it).
Power sharing provisional governments (when the power is shared between former regime and the ones who are trying to change it).
Incumbent provisional governments (when the power during transitional period belongs to the former regime).
International provisional governments (when the power during the transitional period belongs to the international community).
The establishment of provisional governments is frequently tied to the implementation of transitional justice. Decisions related to transitional justice can determine who is allowed to participate in a provisional government.
The practice of using "provisional government" as part of a formal name can be traced to Talleyrand's government in France in 1814. In 1843, American pioneers in the Oregon Country, in the Pacific Northwest region of North America established the Provisional Government of Oregon--as the U.S. federal government had not yet extended its jurisdiction over the region--which existed until March 1849. The numerous provisional governments during the Revolutions of 1848 gave the word its modern meaning: A liberal government established to prepare for elections.
List of provisional governments
Numerous provisional governments have been established since the 1850s, including:
Provisional Government of Free India (1943-1945), established by Indian nationalists in southeast Asia, had nominal sovereignty over Axis controlled Indian territories, and had diplomatic relationships with nine countries.
^Sayigh, Yezid (1999). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 624. ISBN9780198296430. "The Palestinian National Council also empowered the central council to form a government-in-exile when appropriate, and the executive committee to perform the functions of government until such time as a government-in-exile was established."