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You focus on the cultural narrative source of legitimacy - is it divine right or the will of the people?
I focus on the functional form of the government - executive heads of state who are also commanders in chief (see US, France, Russia) vs. "prime ministers" who are "first among peers" in an elected parliament under a figurehead (whether the latter is elected or nor is mostly inconsequential).
When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
I find the last Emperor, Francis II, carried a title reflecting a narrative combining the divine and the will of the people: divina favente clementia electus Romanorum Imperator, semper Augustus = "Roman Emperor elected by the mercy of God, always multiplier of the Empire [sic!]".
Some kings have been elected by assemblies of noblemen in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Kingdom of Hungary, too.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
All kings were elected in the Commonwealth, which also had a strong parliament (Sejm) and weak king system. All members of the noble estate had the right to vote. Since the nobility constituted some ten percent of the population on narrow suffrage grounds you could say the Commonwealth was more democratic than the UK before the Second Reform Act. More broadly that wasn't the case because of indirect voting (the nobles elected provincial 'sejmiki' which then elected the Sejm), open voting, and most importantly the hierarchical patron-client relationships of what was still a pretty feudal society.
In 1505 Sejm concluded that no new law could be established without the agreement of the nobility (the Nihil Novi act). King Alexander Jagiellon was forced to agree to this settlement. The Sejm operated on the principle of unanimous consent, regarding each noble as irreducibly sovereign. In a further safeguard of minority rights, Polish usage sanctioned the right of a group of nobility to form a confederation, which in effect constituted an uprising aimed at redress of grievances. The nobility also possessed the crucial right to elect the monarch, although the Jagiellons were in practice a hereditary ruling house in all but the formal sense. In fact, Jagiellons had to give privileges to the nobles to encourage them to elect their sons to be the successors. Those privileges reduced king's power. King Sigismund II Augustus was the last of Jagiellon dynasty; he had no sons. The prestige of the Jagiellons and the certainty of their succession supplied an element of cohesion that tempered the disruptive forces built into the state system.
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