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Government-in-exile facts for kids

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A government-in-exile (abbreviated as GiE) is a political group that claims to be the legitimate government of a sovereign state or semi-sovereign state, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in a foreign country. Governments in exile usually plan to one day return to their native country and regain formal power. A government in exile differs from a rump state in the sense that the latter controls at least part of its former territory. For example, during World War I, nearly all of Belgium was occupied by Germany, but Belgium and its allies held on to a small slice in the country's west. A government in exile, in contrast, has lost all its territory. However, in practice the difference might be minor; in the above example, the Belgian government at Sainte-Adresse was located in French territory and acted as a government in exile for most practical purposes.

The governments in exile tend to occur during wartime occupation or in the aftermath of a civil war, revolution, or military coup. For example, during German expansion and advance in World War II, some European governments sought refuge in the United Kingdom, rather than face destruction at the hands of Nazi Germany. On the other hand, the Provisional Government of Free India proclaimed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose sought to use support from the invading Japanese to gain control of the country from what it viewed as British occupiers, and in the final year of WWII, after Nazi Germany was driven out of France, it maintained the remnants of the Nazi-sympathizing Vichy government as a French government in exile at the Sigmaringen enclave.

A government in exile may also form from widespread belief in the illegitimacy of a ruling government. Due to the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, for instance, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed by groups whose members sought to end the rule of the ruling Ba'ath Party.

The governments in exile may have little or no recognition from other states. The effectiveness of a government in exile depends primarily on the amount of support it receives, either from foreign governments or from the population of its own country. Some exiled governments come to develop into a formidable force, posing a serious challenge to the incumbent regime of the country, while others are maintained chiefly as a symbolic gesture.

The phenomenon of a government in exile predates the formal utilization of the term. In periods of monarchical government, exiled monarchs or dynasties sometimes set up exile courts, as the House of Stuart did when driven from their throne by Oliver Cromwell and again at the Glorious Revolution (see James Francis Edward Stuart § Court-in-exile). The House of Bourbon would be another example because it continued to be recognized by other countries at the time as the legitimate government of France after it was overthrown by the populace during the French Revolution. This continued to last through the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803–04 to 1815. With the spread of constitutional monarchy, monarchical governments which were exiled started to include a prime minister, such as the Dutch government during World War II headed by Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy.

The capital of a government-in-exile is known as a capital-in-exile, located outside the government's proclaimed territory. This differs from a temporary capital, which is located somewhere inside the government's controlled territory.

Current governments in exile

Current governments regarded by some as a "government-in-exile"

These governments once controlled all or most of their claimed territory, but continue to control a smaller part of it while also continuing to claim legitimate authority of the entire territory they once fully controlled.

Name Exile Territory that the government still controls Current control of claimed territory Notes References
Taiwan Republic of China 1949 Taiwan and associated islands  People's Republic of China

The currently Taipei-based Republic of China government does not regard itself as a government-in-exile, but is claimed to be such by some participants in the debate on the political status of Taiwan. In addition to the island of Taiwan and some other islands it currently controls, the Republic of China formally maintains claims over territory now controlled by the People's Republic of China as well as some parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The usual formal reasoning on which this "government-in-exile" claim is based relies on an argument that the sovereignty of Taiwan was not legitimately handed to the Republic of China at the end of World War II, and on that basis the Republic of China is located in foreign territory, therefore effectively making it a government in exile. By contrast, this theory is not accepted by those who view the sovereignty of Taiwan as having been legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war. Both the government of the People's Republic of China and the Pan-Blue Coalition (including the Kuomintang) in the Republic of China hold the latter view. However, there are also some who do not accept that the sovereignty of Taiwan was legitimately returned to the Republic of China at the end of the war nor that the Republic of China is a government-in-exile, and China's territory does not include Taiwan. The current Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan is inclined to this view.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic 1976 Southeastern parts of Western Shahara  Morocco Proclaimed on 27 February 1976, following the Spanish withdrawal from what was until then Spanish Sahara after the POLISARIO insurgency. It is not strictly a government in exile since it does control 20–25% of its claimed territory. Nevertheless, it is often referred to as such, especially since most day-to-day government business is conducted in the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, which house most of the Sahrawi exile community, rather than in the proclaimed temporary capital (first Bir Lehlou, moved to Tifariti in 2008).

Deposed governments of current states

These governments in exile were founded by deposed governments or rulers who continue to claim legitimate authority of the state they once controlled.

Name Exile since State controlling its claimed territory Notes References
Belarus Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic 1919  Republic of Belarus

It is the oldest government in exile in the world, led by Ivonka Survilla since 1997; based in Ottawa, Ontario. Declared a "extremist formation" in Belarus.

Myanmar National Unity Government of Myanmar 2021  Republic of the Union of Myanmar (State Administration Council)

This government was formed in response to the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état. The cabinet members of the National Unity Government are in hiding within Myanmar.

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Panjshir alliance) 2021 Afghanistan Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban)

Following the fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021, many of the Afghan governing officials fled the country. A group of former members of the Northern Alliance, led by the de jure vice president Amrullah Saleh, formed an anti-Taliban alliance seeking to regain control of the country.

Deposed governments of subnational territories

These governments in exile claim legitimacy of autonomous territories of another state and have been founded by deposed governments or rulers, who do not claim independence as a separate state.

Name Exile Current control of claimed territory Notes References
since as by as
Fujian Provincial Government and Kinmen-Matsu Joint Services Center 1949 Province China People's Republic of China (Fujian) Province Chinese provincial government seat was exiled from its capital Fuzhou (Foochow) in Fukien in 1949 during the closing years of the Chinese Civil War to Jincheng Township in Kinmen County. Government moved to Hsintien Township in Taipei County, Taiwan Province in 1956 due to increased militarization. Seat relocated back to Jincheng in 1996. Despite the provincial government's de facto dissolution in 2019, this province continues to exist de jure without administrative function.
Taiwan Sinkiang Provincial Government 1949 Province China People's Republic of China (Xinjiang) Autonomous region Relocated to Taipei, Taiwan in 1949 after Sinkiang fell to the communists. Despite the provincial government's de facto dissolution in 1992 after the Taiwan government accepted the "One China" Consensus, this province continues to exist de jure without administrative function.
Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia 1993 Autonomous republic Abkhazia Republic of Abkhazia de facto independent state Georgian provincial government, led by Ruslan Abashidze, whose territory is under the control of Abkhaz separatists; based in Tbilisi.
Georgia (country) Provisional Administration of South Ossetia 2008 Provisional administration South Ossetia Republic of South Ossetia Georgian provincial administration, led by Dmitry Sanakoyev, whose territory is under the control of South Ossetian separatists; based in Tbilisi.
UkraineAutonomous Republic of Crimea Autonomous Republic of Crimea 2014 Autonomous republic  Russia Republic of Crimea Ukrainian autonomous republic, whose territory was seized and annexed by Russia in March 2014, following a disputed status referendum; was based in Kherson until the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, now operating remotely in Ukraine.
UkraineSevastopol Sevastopol Special city Federal city Ukrainian special city, whose territory was seized and annexed by Russia in March 2014, following a disputed status referendum; was based in Kherson until the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, now operating remotely in Ukraine.
Ukraine Luhansk Oblast 2022 Oblast Luhansk People's Republic Ukrainian oblast, whose territory was partially seized (approx. 30%) by the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) in 2014, and then subsequently completely seized in 2022 during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia annexed the LPR on 30 September 2022. Previously, the LPR was a breakaway state (allegedly a Russian puppet state) formed by Russian-backed separatists. Currently operating remotely in Ukraine, despite Ukraine regaining control of a small slice of Luhansk Oblast's territory near Kharkiv Oblast during the 2022 Ukrainian eastern counteroffensive.

Alternative governments of current states

These governments have been founded in exile by political organisations and opposition parties, aspire to become actual governing authorities or claim to be legal successors to previously deposed governments, and have been founded as alternatives to incumbent governments.

Name Claimed exile Exile proclamation Government presently controlling claimed territory Notes References
South Korea Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces 1949  North Korea Based in Seoul, the South Korean government's provisional administration for the five pre-1945 provinces which became North Korea at the end of World War II and the division of Korea. The five provinces are North Hamgyeong, South Hamgyeong, Hwanghae, North Pyeongan, South Pyeongan.
Iran National Council of Iran 1979 2013  Islamic Republic of Iran Political umbrella coalition of forty Iranian opposition political organizations, led by Prince Reza Pahlavi; based in Potomac, Maryland.
National Council of Resistance of Iran 1981 Political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition political organizations, the largest organization being the People's Mujahedin of Iran led by Maryam and Massoud Rajavi; based in Paris with the aim to establish the "Democratic Republic of Iran" to replace the current religious rule in Iran.
South Vietnam Third Republic of Vietnam 1990 1991  Socialist Republic of Vietnam The Third Republic of Vietnam, previously named the Provisional National Government of Vietnam, was formed in Orange County, California, by former soldiers and refugees from South Vietnam. Declared a terrorist organization in Vietnam.
Equatorial Guinea Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea 2003  Republic of Equatorial Guinea Proclaimed Severo Moto President of Equatorial Guinea; based in Madrid.
Syrian National Council 2011  Syrian Arab Republic Opposes the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, is member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces; based in Istanbul.
Syrian Interim Government 2012 Opposes the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, has ties to some Free Syrian Army groups; based in Azaz.
Ukraine Ukraine Salvation Committee 2014 2015  Ukraine After the Revolution of Dignity, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, as well as pro-Russian and pro-Yanukovych members of the Second Azarov government fled to Russia and set up a government in exile. Aims to restore the Azarov government. Widely seen as a pro-Russian puppet government.
Belarus Coordination Council
United Transitional Cabinet
2020  Republic of Belarus Opposes Alexander Lukashenko's rule, led by candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (exiled in Lithuania) her alleged victory over Lukashenko in disputed election sparked nationwide protests in order for him to be removed from power. In 2020, Tsikhanouskaya was recognized as the legitimate president by the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. Declared an "extremist organization" in Belarus.
Congress of People's Deputies 2022  Russian Federation The Congress of People's Deputies is a meeting of former deputies of different levels and convocations from Russia, claiming to be the transitional parliament of the Russian Federation or its possible successor. Former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev became the public initiator of the congress. Sessions of the 1st Congress were held on 5–7 November in Jabłonna, Poland. Does not recognize the results of the 2024 Russian presidential election. Declared an "Undesirable organization" in Russia.

Alternative separatist governments of current subnational territories

These governments have been founded in exile by political organisations, opposition parties, and separatist movements, and desire to become the governing authorities of their territories as independent states, or claim to be the successor to previously deposed governments, and have been founded as alternatives to incumbent governments.

Name Claimed exile Exile proclamation Government presently controlling claimed territory Notes References
Free City of Danzig Government in Exile 1939 1947  Republic of Poland Based in Berlin.
United Liberation Movement for West Papua 1963 1969  Republic of Indonesia Campaigns for an independent Republic of West Papua; based in Vanuatu.
Flag of South Moluccas.svg Republic of South Maluku 1966 The Republic of South Maluku was an unrecognized independent state that existed between 1950 and 1963. Between 1963 and 1966, the Head of government Chris Soumokil was imprisoned on Java. In 1966, after his execution by firing squad by order of President Suharto, Johan Manusama formed a government in exile; based in the Netherlands. John Wattilete is its president.
Republic of Biafra Biafran Government in Exile 1970 2007  Federal Republic of Nigeria An arm of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, seeking to reestablish the Republic of Biafra; based in Washington, DC.
Republic of Cabinda 1975  Republic of Angola Based in Paris.
Tatarstan Tatar Government in Exile 1994  Russia Based in London. Member of Free Idel-Ural.
 Chechen Republic of Ichkeria 2000 Some members are fighting as rebels against the Russian Armed Forces; based in London. There is a contested claim that it has been succeeded by the Caucasus Emirate. In October 2022, as a response of recognized the then-recent former people's republics of DPR and LPR as independent nations by Russia, during the invasion in their land, Ukraine has voted to recognized the GoE of Ichkeria as an independent nation.
East Turkestan East Turkistan Government-in-Exile 1949 2004  People's Republic of China Campaigns for the restoration of an independent East Turkistan; based in Washington, DC.
Tibet Central Tibetan Administration 1959 2011

Founded by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India with cooperation of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Republic of Ambazonia 1999  Republic of Cameroon Former British mandate and trust territory of Southern Cameroons; declared independence on 31 December 1999.
Western Kurdistan Government in Exile 2004  Syrian Arab Republic Aims to found a Kurdish state in Syria; based in London.
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam 2009 2010  Sri Lanka Aims to establish an independent state of Tamil Eelam.
Kabyle Provisional Government 2010  Algeria Aims for an independent state of Kabylia; based in Paris.
Western Armenia Government in Exile [hy] [pt] [ru], [simple] 2011 Turkey Aims to establish an independent Republic of Western Armenia; based on Yerevan
Catalonia Council for the Republic 2017  Spain Aims to establish an independent state of Catalonia; based in Brussels.
Patani government in exile 2014  Thailand

Exiled governments of non-self-governing or occupied territories

These governments in exile are governments of non-self-governing or occupied territories. They claim legitimate authority over a territory they once controlled, or claim legitimacy of a post-decolonization authority. The claim may stem from an exiled group's election as a legitimate government.

The United Nations recognizes the right of self-determination for the population of these territories, including the possibility of establishing independent sovereign states.

From the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988 in exile in Algiers by the Palestine Liberation Organization, it has effectively functioned as the government in exile of the Palestinian State. In 1994, however the PLO established the Palestinian National Authority interim territorial administration as result of the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO, Israel, the United States, and Russia. Between 1994 and 2013, the PNA functioned as an autonomy, thus while the government was seated in the West Bank it was not sovereign. In 2013, Palestine was upgraded to a non-member state status in the UN. All of the above founded an ambiguous situation, in which there are two distinct entities: The Palestinian Authority, exercising a severely limited amount of control on the ground and the State of Palestine, recognized by the United Nations and by numerous countries as a sovereign and independent state, but not able to exercise such sovereignty on the ground. Both are headed by the same person—as of 2022, President Mahmoud Abbas—but are judicially distinct.

Past governments in exile

Name Exiled or founded (*) since Defunct, reestablished (*) or integrated (°) since State that controlled its claimed territory Notes References
Republican Government of Siena 1555 1559 Grand Duchy of Tuscany After the Italian city-state of Siena was defeated in the Battle of Marciano and annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 700 Sienese families did not concede defeat, established themselves in Montalcino and declared themselves to be the legitimate Republican Government of Siena. This lasted until 1559, when Tuscan troops arrived and annexed Montalcino, too.
Exile government of the Electoral Palatinate 1622–1623* 1648° Electorate of Bavaria In the early stages of the Thirty Years' War, Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, occupied the Electoral Palatinate and was awarded possession of it by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor. In late 1622 and early 1623, the fugitive Frederick V, Elector Palatine organised a Palatinate government-in-exile at The Hague. This Palatinate Council was headed by Ludwig Camerarius, replaced in 1627 by Johann Joachim Rusdorf. Frederick himself died in exile in 1632, but his son and heir Charles Louis was able to regain the Lower Palatinate following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
England Privy Council of England 1649 1660° Based for most of the Interregnum in the Spanish Netherlands and headed by Charles II; actively supported Charles' claim to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland
East Tennessee 1861 1862 State of Tennessee
Confederate government of Missouri 1861 1865 State of Missouri Missouri had both Union and Confederate governments, but the Confederate government was exiled, eventually governing out of Marshall, Texas.
Kentucky Confederate government of Kentucky 1861 1865 Commonwealth of Kentucky Kentucky had both Union and Confederate governments. The Confederate government was soon forced out of the state, and was an exiled government traveling with the Confederate Army of Tennessee, except for during a short return when the Confederate army briefly occupied Frankfort.
Restored Government of Virginia 1861 1865 Commonwealth of Virginia
Hanover exile court/Guelphic Legion 1866 1878 On 20 September 1866 Prussia annexed Hanover. Living in exile in Austria, at Hietzing and Gmunden, King George V of Hanover never abandoned his claim to the Hanoverian throne and from 1866 to 1870 maintained at his own expense an exile Hanoverian armed force, the Guelphic Legion. George was forced to give up this Legion after the Prussian lower chamber passed in 1869 a law sequestering his funds. George V died in 1878. Though his son and heir Prince Ernest Augustus retained a formal claim to be the legitimate King of Hanover until 1918 (when all German Royal Families were dethroned), he does not seem to have kept up a government-in-exile.
 Hawaiian Kingdom 1893 1895 Republic of Hawaii Royal government exiled following the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893, dissolved after the abdication of Queen Liliuokalani in response to the Hawaiian Counter-revolution of 1895.
Belgium Belgian government at Sainte-Adresse 1914 1918 German Empire German Empire Formed in 1915 by the Government of Belgium following the German invasion during World War I. It was disbanded following the restoration of Belgian sovereignty with the Armistice with Germany.
 Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea 1919* 1948° Korea Based in Shanghai, and later in Chongqing; after Japan's defeat in World War II, President Syngman Rhee became the first president of the First Republic of South Korea
Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile 1921 1954 Soviet Union Soviet Union Formed after the Soviet invasion of Georgia of 1921; based in Leuville-sur-Orge.
Government of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile 1921 1992 Formed after the Soviet invasion of Ukraine of 1921; disbanded following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Sublime State of Persia 1923 1943 Imperial State of Iran The Qajar dynasty went into exile in 1923 and continued to claim the Iranian throne until the death of Mohammad Hassan Mirza in 1943.
Second Spanish Republic Spanish Republican government in exile 1939 1977°  Spanish State Founded after Francisco Franco's coup d'état; first based in Paris from 1939 until 1940 when France fell to the Nazis. The exiled government was then moved to Mexico City and stayed there from 1940 to 1946, when it was moved back to Paris, where it lasted until Franco's death and democracy in Spain was restored in the transition.
Catalonia Generalitat de Catalunya 1939 1977°  Spanish State In 1939, as the Spanish Civil War ended with the defeat of the Republic, the Francoist dictatorship abolished the Generalitat de Catalunya, the autonomous government of Catalonia, and its president Lluís Companys was tortured and executed. However, the Generalitat maintained its official existence in exile from 1939 to 1977, led by presidents Josep Irla (1940–1954) and Josep Tarradellas (1954–1980). In 1977 Tarradellas returned to Catalonia and was recognized by the post-Franco Spanish government, ending the Generalitat's exile.
Poland Polish government-in-exile 1939* 1990°
Based in Paris, Angers and London, it opposed German-occupied Poland and the Soviet satellite state, the People's Republic of Poland; disbanded following the fall of communism in Poland.
Estonia Estonian government-in-exile (Tief) 1940* 1953 Soviet Union Soviet Union Split into 2 factions in January 1953 following Otto Tief's removal by August Rei and the dispute over succession.
Estonia Estonian government-in-exile (Rei) 1940/1953* 1991 Established in Sweden by several members of Otto Tief's government loyal to August Rei; it did not achieve any international recognizion. In fact, it was not recognized even by Estonian diplomatic legations that were seen by western countries as legal representatives of the annexed state. However the government in exile was recognized by the restored Government of Estonia when the government in exile ceased its activity in 1992 and gave over its credentials to the restored Republic of Estonia. A rival electoral committee was founded by another group of Estonian exiles loyal to Alfred Maurer in the same year in Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany, but it was short lived.
Latvia Latvian diplomatic service-in-exile 1940* 1991
Lithuania Lithuanian diplomatic service-in-exile 1940* 1991
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippine Commonwealth in exile 1942 1944°
After Japanese forces took control over the Philippine islands, the Philippine commonwealth government led by Manuel Quezon fled first to Melbourne and later to Washington, D.C. It existed from May 1942 to October 1944 before returning to the Philippines along with U.S. forces during the Philippines campaign (1944–1945).
Indonesia Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia 1948* 1949° Netherlands Dutch East Indies Based in Bukittinggi; led by Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, founded after Operatie Kraai in December 1948. Disbanded after Roem–Van Roijen Agreement.
All-Palestine Protectorate All-Palestine Government 1948 1959
The All-Palestine government was proclaimed in Gaza in September 1948, but was shortly relocated to Cairo in fear of Israeli offensive. Despite Egyptian ability to keep control of the Gaza Strip, the All-Palestine Government was forced to remain in exile in Cairo, gradually stripping it of its authority, until in 1959 it was dissolved by President Gamal Abdel Nasser's decree.
President of Ukraine (in exile) 1948 1992°  Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Founded on 10 July 1948, when was adopted a "Provisional law about the reorganisation of the State Center of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile" which was coordinated between various Ukrainian political organizations. It was disbanded on 22 August 1992, when after an extraordinary session of the Ukrainian National Council on 15 March 1992 adopted a resolution "About handing over authority of the State Center of UNR in exile to the state power in Kiev and termination of work of the State Center of UNR in exile".
Algeria Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic 1958* 1962* France French Algeria (France) Established during the latter part of the Algerian War of Independence; after the war, a compromise agreement with the Armée de Libération Nationale dissolved it but allowed most of its members to enter the post-independence government
North Korea Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland 1961 2024  South Korea The CPRK was not a governmental body per se but rather an offshoot of the Korean Workers' Party's United Front Department; the distinction is intended to emphasise the North Korean government's position that the Southern government is illegitimate and should not be dealt with by official bodies. Dissolved in 2024, when North Korea stated that it no longer seeks reunification.
Revolutionary Government of Angola in Exile 1962* 1992° Angola People's Republic of Angola Based in Kinshasa; its military branch, the National Liberation Front of Angola, was recognized as a political party in 1992 and holds two seats in Angola's parliament
Namibia Namibian Government in Exile 1966* 1989°  South Africa Formed after opposition to the apartheid South African administration over South-West Africa, which had been ruled as illegal by the United Nations; in 1990, Namibia achieved independence after the South African Border War.
Bangladesh Provisional Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh 1971* 1972° East Pakistan Based in Calcutta; led by Tajuddin Ahmad, the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh, during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
Crown Council of Ethiopia 1974 2004°  Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Formerly opposed the Derg and the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, sought to restore the Monarchy of Ethiopia; based in the Washington D.C metropolitan area. On 28 July 2004, the Crown Council redefined its role by redirecting its mission from the political realm to a mission of cultural preservation, development and humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia.

Free Aceh Movement Free Aceh Movement 1976* 2005 Indonesia Republic of Indonesia Headquartered in Turkey; surrendered its separatist intentions and dissolved its armed wing following the 2005 peace agreement with the Indonesian government
Cambodia Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea 1982* 1993° People's Republic of Kampuchea Established with UN recognition in opposition to the Vietnamese-backed government. Elections in 1993 brought the reintegration of the exiled government into the newly reconstituted Kingdom of Cambodia.
Myanmar National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma 1990 2012
Led by Sein Win and composed of members of parliament elected in 1990 but not allowed by the military to take office; based in Rockville, Maryland, and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Dubrovnik Republic (1991) 1991 1992  Republic of Croatia Formed in Cavtat with the help of the Yugoslav People's Army after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. Claimed to be the historic successor of the Republic of Ragusa (1358–1808).
Azerbaijan Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh 1994 2021° Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Based in Baku; not a real government in exile, but an Azerbaijani association, founded on 24 March 1994 and led by Tural Ganjaliyev, whose territory was under the control of Armenian separatists between 1991 and 2020. On 30 April 2021 was announced the dissolution of the association after the return of most of Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijani control after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Kurdistan Region Kurdish Parliament in Exile 1995 1999  Republic of Türkiye Based in The Hague; founded in April 1995 and led by Yaşar Kaya. It was disbanded in 1999.
South Vietnam Government of Free Vietnam 1995* 2013°  Socialist Republic of Vietnam The Government of Free Vietnam was an anti-communist political organization centered in Garden Grove, California and Missouri City, Texas. It was disbanded in 2013.
Gabon Bongo Doit Partir 1998 2009  Gabon Founded by Daniel Mengara in opposition to president Omar Bongo; after Bongo's death in June 2009, Mengara returned to Gabon in order to participate in the country's elections
Quetta Shura 2001 2021  Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Based in Quetta, as a continuation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. After the Taliban were removed from power in the 2001 Afghan war, the veteran high-ranking leaders of the former government including Mullah Mohammed Omar, founder and spiritual leader of the Taliban, fled to Quetta, Balochistan Province, Pakistan where they set up Quetta Shura in exile to organize and direct the insurgency and retake Afghanistan which was achieved in August 2021.

Royal Lao Government in Exile 2003 2023  Lao People's Democratic Republic

Opposed communist government in Laos, sought to institute a constitutional monarchy until its self-proclaimed prime minister died; based in Gresham, Oregon.

Interim Government of Federated Shan States 2005 2006 Myanmar Union of Myanmar Aimed to establish an independent state for the Shan ethnic group; it became defunct within several months.

World War II

Many countries established a government in exile after loss of sovereignty in connection with World War II.

Governments in London

A large number of European governments-in-exile were set up in London.

Name Leaders
Belgium Belgian government in exile Prime Minister: Hubert Pierlot
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovak government-in-exile
Free France Free France Charles de Gaulle, Henri Giraud, French Committee of National Liberation (from 1943)
Kingdom of Greece Greek government-in-exile
Luxembourg Luxembourg government in exile
Netherlands Dutch government-in-exile
  • Queen Wilhelmina
  • Prime Minister: Dirk Jan de Geer (1940), Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy (1940–1945)
Norway Norwegian government-in-exile
Poland Polish government-in-exile
  • President: Władysław Raczkiewicz
  • Prime Minister: Władysław Sikorski (1939–1943), Stanisław Mikołajczyk (1943–1944), Tomasz Arciszewski (1944–1945)
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslav government-in-exile
  • King Peter II
  • Prime Minister: Dušan Simović (1941–1942), Slobodan Jovanović (1942–1943), Miloš Trifunović (1943), Božidar Purić (1943–1944), Ivan Šubašić (1944–1945)
Austria Austrian Democratic Union (Unrecognised)
Denmark Danish Freedom Council (Unrecognised)
Thailand Free Thai Movement (Unrecognised)

Other exiled leaders in Britain in this time included King Zog of Albania and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

Occupied Denmark did not establish a government in exile, although there was an Association of Free Danes established in London. The government remained in Denmark and functioned with relative independence until August 1943 when it was dissolved, placing Denmark under full German occupation. Meanwhile, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands were occupied by the Allies and effectively separated from the Danish crown. (See British occupation of the Faroe Islands, Iceland during World War II, and History of Greenland during World War II.)

Governments-in-exile in Asia

The Philippine Commonwealth (invaded 9 December 1941) established a government in exile, initially located in Australia and later in the United States. Earlier, in 1897, the Hong Kong Junta was established as a government in exile by the Philippine revolutionary Republic of Biak-na-Bato.

While formed long before World War II, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea continued in exile in China until the end of the war.

At the fall of Java, and the surrender by the Dutch on behalf of Allied forces on 8 March 1942, many Dutch-Indies officials (including Dr van Mook and Dr Charles van der Plas) managed to flee to Australia in March 1942, and on 23 December 1943, the Royal Government (Dutch) decreed an official Netherlands East Indies government-in-exile, with Dr van Mook as Acting Governor General, on Australian soil until Dutch rule was restored in the Indies.

Axis-aligned governments in exile

In the later stages of World War II, with the German Army increasingly pushed back and expelled from various countries, Axis-aligned groups from some countries set up "governments-in-exile" under the auspices of the Axis powers, in the remaining Axis territory - even though internationally recognized governments were in place in their home countries. The main purpose of these was to recruit and organize military units composed of their nationals in the host country.

Name Exiled or founded (*) since Defunct, reestablished (*) or integrated (°) since State that controlled its claimed territory Notes References
Azad Hind 21 October 1943* 18 August 1945 British Raj The Provisional Government of Free India, or Azad Hind, was a state founded to oppose the British Raj. It was based in Rangoon and later in Port Blair. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the leader of the government and the Head of State. The government was initially established in Singapore but later given control of Japanese-controlled territory in far eastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The government issued its currency notes and started establishing bilateral relationships with countries aligned against Britain. The Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA) was the official military of Government of India led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This government was disestablished in 1945 following the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II. The trials of INA leaders after the war led to the Royal Indian Navy revolt in 1946, which hastened the end of British rule in India.
Montenegrin State Council Summer of 1944 8 May 1945 Kingdom of Yugoslavia After the Germans withdrew from Montenegro, the fascist leader Sekula Drljević founded a government-in-exile based in Zagreb, capital of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Drljević founded the Montenegrin National Army, a military force set up by him and the Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelić. However, his government was dissolved after the fall of the NDH.
Legionary Romania August 1944 8 May 1945 Kingdom of Romania Germany had imprisoned Horia Sima and other members of the Iron Guard following the Legionnaires' rebellion of 1941. In 1944, King Michael's Coup brought a pro-Allied government to power in Romania. In response Germany released Sima to establish a pro-Axis government in exile in Vienna. It raised a Romanian National Army in the SS of 12.000 men that fought along Germany until the end of the war.
Sigmaringen Governmental Commission 7 September 1944* 23 April 1945° Provisional Government of the French Republic Members of the collaborationist French cabinet at Vichy were relocated by the Germans to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where they became a government-in-exile until April 1945. They were given formal governmental power over the city of Sigmaringen, and the three Axis governments – Germany, Italy and Japan – established there what were officially their Embassies to France. Pétain having refused to take part in this, it was headed by Fernand de Brinon.
Kingdom of Bulgaria 16 September 1944* 10 May 1945 Kingdom of Bulgaria (Fatherland Front) Formed after the 1944 Bulgarian coup d'état brought socialists to power in Bulgaria, the government was based in Vienna and headed by Aleksandar Tsankov. It raised the 1st Bulgarian Regiment of the SS.
Hellenic State September 1944 April 1945 Kingdom of Greece After the liberation of Greece, a new collaborationist government had been established at Vienna, during September 1944, formed by former collaborationist ministers. It was headed by the former collaborationist minister Ektor Tsironikos. In April 1945, Tsironikos was captured during the Vienna offensive along with his ministers.
Hungarian Government of National Unity 28/29 March 1945 7 May 1945
The Szálasi government fled in the face of the Soviet advance through Hungary. It was first based in Vienna and then in Munich. Most of its leaders were arrested in the following months, in the aftermath of the final Allied victory in Europe.
Slovak Republic 4 April 1945 8 May 1945 Czechoslovak Republic The government of the Slovak Republic, led by Jozef Tiso, went into exile on 4 April 1945 to the Austrian town of Kremsmünster when the Red Army captured Bratislava and occupied Slovakia. The exiled government capitulated to the American General Walton Walker on 8 May 1945 in Kremsmünster. In summer 1945, the captured members of the government were handed over to Czechoslovak authorities.
 Second Philippine Republic 11 June 1945 17 August 1945 Philippine Commonwealth After the Allied forces liberated the Philippines from Japanese occupiers and the reestablishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in the archipelago after a few years in exile in the United States, the Second Philippine Republic became a nominal government-in-exile from 11 June 1945, based in Nara / Tokyo. The government was later dissolved on 17 August 1945.
Croatian Government in exile 10 April 1951 28 December 1959  Yugoslavia Many former members of the Government of the Independent State of Croatia fled to Argentina. From there they founded a government in exile.

Persian Gulf War

Following the Ba'athist Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait, during the Persian Gulf War, on 2 August 1990, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and senior members of his government fled to Saudi Arabia, where they set up a government-in-exile in Ta'if. The Kuwaiti government in exile was far more affluent than most other such governments, having full disposal of the very considerable Kuwaiti assets in western banks—of which it made use to conduct a massive propaganda campaign denouncing the Ba'athist Iraqi occupation and mobilizing public opinion in the Western world in favor of war with Ba'athist Iraq. In March 1991, following the defeat of Ba'athist Iraq at the hands of coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War, the Sheikh and his government were able to return to Kuwait.

Municipal councils in exile

Following the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the displacement of many Greek Cypriots from North Cyprus, displaced inhabitants of several towns set up what are in effect municipal councils in exile, headed by mayors in exile. The idea is the same as with a national government in exile – to assert a continuation of legitimate rule, even though having no control of the ground, and working towards restoration of such control. Meetings of the exiled Municipal Council of Lapithos took place in the homes of its members until the Exile Municipality was offered temporary offices at 37 Ammochostou Street, Nicosia. The current Exile Mayor of the town is Athos Eleftheriou. The same premises are shared with the Exile Municipal Council of Kythrea.

Also in the Famagusta District of Cyprus, the administration of the part retained by the Republic of Cyprus considers itself as a "District administration in exile", since the district's capital Famagusta had been under Turkish control since 1974.

Fictional governments in exile

Works of alternate history as well as science fictional depictions of the future sometimes include fictional governments in exile.

  • In Len Deighton's SS-GB, the UK is defeated in World War II and occupied by Germany. The story features a British government-in-exile in Washington, D.C.
  • In If Israel Lost the War by Robert Littell, Richard Z. Chesnoff and Edward Klein, Israel is defeated in the 1967 Six-Day War and its territory occupied by Arab armies. Thereupon, David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir set up an Israeli government in exile in North America.
  • Algis Budrys' The Falling Torch is set in a future time when Earth was conquered and occupied by extraterrestrial humanoid invaders. Many years later, the Earth government in exile, located at a human colony planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, is holding a regular meeting in an atmosphere of dejection and futility – its hosts being indifferent to Earth's plight and unwilling to offer any real help. The exile prime minister is shown more involved with his successful career as the chef of a luxury hotel than with the seemingly non-existent hope of liberating Earth. This depiction might have drawn on the writer's actual experience as a member of the exile Lithuanian community in the 1950s US, at the time seeing little hope of shaking the Soviet hold of its homeland.
  • In the Hearts of Iron IV mod, Kaiserreich (which portrays an alternate history where Germany wins World War I), the former governments of France, Britain, and Italy are exiled to Algeria, Canada, and Sardinia, respectively, after syndicalist revolutionaries assume control.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Gobierno en el exilio para niños


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