A duumvirate is an alliance between two equally powerful political or military leaders.[1] The term can also be used to describe a state with two different military leaders who both declare themselves to be the sole leader of the state.

The tiny European nation of Andorra is nominally a duumvirate, as it is ruled by two co-princes, one of whom is Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, the other of whom is Joan Enric Vives i Sicília, Bishop of the Diocese of Urgell, although the Andorran prime minister wields de facto power as the head of government. Duumvirates in history include the city-states of Carthage, ruled by two mayors (Suffets), and Ancient Rome, ruled by two Consuls. Sparta was also ruled by two kings, thus a duumvirate.

Some political parties have duumvirates, sometimes, such as is the case of Lindsey German and John Rees in the Socialist Workers Party in Britain.

The First Whitlam Ministry in Australia is sometimes called the "Duumvirate" because it consisted entirely of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, and his deputy, Lance Barnard, who between them split up all ministerial and quasi-ministerial positions for two weeks in December 1972.

It has been suggested[2] that Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev represent a modern Russian duumvirate, sometimes referred as тандемократия, “tandemocracy”, a compound of “tandem” and “-cracy”, at the same time a portmanteau with “democracy” (see Sovereign democracy).

See also

  • Diarchy - rule by two people
  • Duoviri - ancient Roman magistracy of two men
  • Triumvirate - the equivalent term for three people
  • Decemvirate - the equivalent term for ten people
  • Coregency - rule by two regents


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  • Duumvirate — Du*um vi*rate, n. [L. duumviratus, fr. duumvir.] The union of two men in the same office; or the office, dignity, or government of two men thus associated, as in ancient Rome. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • duumvirate — [do͞o um′vi rit, dyo͞oum′vi rit] n. [L duumviratus: see DUUMVIR & ATE2] 1. governmental position or authority held jointly by two persons 2. two such persons …   English World dictionary

  • duumvirate — noun see duumvir …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • duumvirate — /dooh um veuhr it, dyooh /, n. 1. a coalition of two persons holding the same office, as in ancient Rome. 2. the office or government of two such persons. [1650 60; < L duumviratus. See DUUMVIR, ATE3] * * * …   Universalium

  • duumvirate — noun a) Any of several branches of the executive in Republican Rome controlled by two people b) Any government by two people …   Wiktionary

  • duumvirate — du·um·vi·rate || djuː ÊŒmvɪrÉ™t n. governing council or body of two individuals …   English contemporary dictionary

  • duumvirate — [dju: ʌmvɪrət] noun a coalition of two people having joint authority. Origin C17: from L. duumviratus …   English new terms dictionary

  • duumvirate — du·um·vi·rate …   English syllables

  • duumvirate — du•um•vi•rate [[t]duˈʌm vər ɪt, dyu [/t]] n. 1) anh a coalition of two people holding the same office, as in ancient Rome 2) anh the office or government of two such people • Etymology: 1650–60; < L duumvirātus. See duumvir …   From formal English to slang

  • duumvirate — /djuˈʌmvərət/ (say dyooh umvuhruht) noun 1. a union of two holders of the same office. 2. the office or government of two such persons. {duumvir + ate3} …   Australian-English dictionary

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