The Countries with the Least Similar Governments


Have you ever wondered which countries have the most different governments in the world? According to the Country Similarity Index‘s government category, Canada and Iran are the pair of countries with the least similar governments in the world. The analysis shows that their systems of government, legal systems, democracy, censorship, laws, entitlements, and allies are extremely different. The Netherlands and Sudan are another pair of countries with uniquely different governments. These comparisons highlight the massive contrasts in politics across the world.

Canada & Iran

Canada is a predominately Christian country in North America. In contrast, Iran is a predominately Muslim country located in the Middle East. The two countries have especially little in common in regards to their government and politics.

Their systems of government are set up differently. Canada is a bicameral parliamentary democracy that guarantees freedom of religion. On the other hand, Iran is a theocratic country, where the Supreme Leader is both the highest-ranking political and religious authority. The President is the head of government, while the Assembly of Experts chooses the Supreme Leader.

Unlike Canada, Iran’s government is not very democratic. Although the president is elected by popular vote, only candidates approved by the Assembly of Experts, who are chosen by the Supreme Leader, are allowed. Moreover, Iran’s government heavily censors the media and journalists. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Netflix are blocked there. Another difference is that Iran has far less rule of law than Canada.

Their judicial branches are far different as well. Canada’s legal system is based on the English common law, where judges make decisions on precedent from past cases. Iran’s legal system is based on sharia (Islamic religious law) for criminal and family matters. For commercial, contractual, and civil matters, it is based on civil law. While Iran has a supreme court, the Supreme Leader can make the final decisions.

Their laws are especially dissimilar. Canada allows same sex marriage, while in Iran homosexuality is punishable by death. Polygamy is allowed in Iran, but criminalized in Canada. Another difference is that Iran has many restrictions on abortion, in contrast to Canada, where abortion has no restrictions. Iran also has more restrictions on gambling than Canada. In addition, alcohol is prohibited for Muslims in Iran. It has one of the highest rates of execution in the world, while Canada does not allow capital punishment.

Canada is a member of various international organizations, including NATO and the United Nations. Iran’s membership in the UN has been subject to various sanctions and restrictions. Iran is also not in the World Trade Organization. While Canada’s big allies are the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, some of Iran’s allies include Syria, China, and Russia. Furthermore, more than a decade ago, Canada closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iranian diplomats from their land.

Sudan & Netherlands

Sudan is a conservative, predominately Muslim country in Africa. In stark contrast, the Netherlands is a European country, where few people are religious. It also has some of the most liberal laws in the world. Therefore, it is no surprise that their governments and political systems share few similarities.

The Netherlands is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, where the King is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Its relatively stable government highly contrasts Sudan’s. For much of its recent history, Sudan has been governed by military regimes. In 2019, the former President was ousted from power after months of protests and a military coup. Yet again, the Sovereignty Council and the Sudanese government were overthrown by a coup in 2021.

The Netherlands has a legal system based on civil law. Sudan’s legal system is based on sharia (Islamic religious law). Common law principles have also been incorporated into its legal system over time, particularly during the colonial period when Sudan was under British rule. However, there is little rule of law in Sudan. Its people have little political freedom or freedom of speech as well.

Their laws are extremely different as well. The Netherlands was the first country to allow same sex marriage, while in Sudan homosexuality is criminalized. Furthermore, polygamy is allowed in Iran, but criminalized in the Netherlands. Another difference is that Sudan only allows abortions if the life of the mother is at risk. Abortions can be performed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in the Netherlands. Sudan also has far more restrictions on illicit drugs and gambling than the Netherlands. In fact, alcohol is not even allowed in Sudan.

The Netherlands is a member of the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations. Sudan’s membership in the UN has been subject to various sanctions and restrictions. Furthermore, it is not part of the World Trade Organization. Sudan has received a lot of aid from both China and Russia. In contrast, the Netherlands is allies with Germany, France, and even the United States.

The Least Similar Countries

The Countries with the Least Similar Demographics
The Countries with the Least Similar Culture
The Countries with the Least Similar Governments
The Countries with the Least Similar Infrastructure
The Countries with the Least Similar Geography

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