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How do I search The Political Handbook of the World Online Edition?

Quick Search

From the home page you can perform a Quick Search of the current edition of Political Handbook of the World. Quick search skips the advance search page and immediately performs a search based on the following default criteria:


Use specific words instead of general ones.

Use the words and, or, and not as search operators. For example, to search for documents containing the word "nuclear" and the word "weapons," type nuclear and weapons in the keyword input box. To search for documents containing either the word "nuclear" or the word "weapons" type confirmation or hearings in the keyword input box.

Use not to narrow your search. If you type nuclear not weapons in the keyword input box, your search will return only those documents that include the word "nuclear" and exclude the word "weapons."

Use quotation marks around a phrase to search for an exact match of those words in sequence. For example, to find the phrase "United Nations," type "United Nations" in the keyword input box, including the quotation marks. Without the quotation marks, your search will return documents containing the word "United" and the word "Nations," even if the words are not used together.

Use a wildcard (*). By typing an * (the asterisk symbol) at the beginning or end of a word, you can search for items with multiple prefixes or endings. For example, typing *trust* in the keyword input box will return documents that include the words "trust," "antitrust," "trusts," "antitrusts," and "trustee."

List of Search Commands and Search Operators



How to Use



Finds one term and a second term

Separate the words with a space, or separate with "and"

nuclear weapons or nuclear and weapons

" "

Finds terms in an exact sequence

Use quotation marks around the sequence

"United Nations"


Finds one term or another term

Separate terms with "or"

House or Senate


Finds one term but not another

Separate terms with "not"

House not Senate


Finds any terms containing a specific sequence of letters

Type the letters, using the asterisk symbol (*) as a wildcard



Finds variations of a term

Replace letters with the ? symbol

wom?n returns woman, women


Finds terms that are within a certain number of words of each other

Place terms in quotations, followed by a "w" and a slash mark (/) and the number of words which can occur between the search terms

United Nations w/4 bank returns United Nations: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

How do I use Advanced Search?

The advanced search allows you to more specifically define the parameters of your key word search. Advanced Search provides a powerful tool for drilling down to find exactly what you need. To search for a complete phrase, place it in quotes. Use search operators to narrow the search: and, or, not, *, w/#. You can also search across all your CQ Electronic Library sites.

"Search All Text" (a selection just below the search box) searches for keywords in the text and title of all documents in Political Handbook of the World Online Edition.

"Search Titles Only" can be a quick shortcut for finding keywords in the title of documents.

"Limit by edition" narrows your search a single edition of the Handbook.

"Limit by organization type" narrows your search to either country or intergovernmental organizations.

"Limit by regime type" narrows your search to countries that are a specific type of regime.

"Limit by party system" narrows your search to countries with certain types of party systems.

"Limit by electoral system" narrows your search to countries with a specific electoral system.

"Limit by system of government" narrows your search to countries that are either federal of unitary states.

"Limit by region" narrows your search to countries designated to a particular geographic region.

Sort Results By presents two options for sorting search results: 1) relevancy based on the number of times a keyword appears and 2) alphabetically by document title.

"Number of results displayed per page" is an option in the Advanced Search that allows you to control the number of documents displayed in your search results. This number can range from 5 to 30, in multiples of five.

How do I browse the Handbook?

There are three ways to browse the Political Handbook of the World Online Edition from the home page:

Browse by Table of Contents allows you navigate the site by viewing content in the same order it appears in the print edition. The book is broken out into four sections: Preface, Countries/Governments A to Z, Intergovernmental Organizations, and Appendixes.

Browse by Region is a tool to browse country profiles by geographic region. By clicking on a section of the map or selecting a region from the drop-down menu, your page will refresh with a list of countries from that region. Countries are assigned to only one region.

Browse by Political System organizes countries in the Handbook by four main political system types: Regime Type, Party System, Electoral System, and System of Government. Selecting one these categories will lead to a list of countries or another list of options for sorting specific political system types.

What is the document ID?

The document ID is a unique code for each document in Political Handbook of the World Online Edition. You can use this code in the key word search to locate a specific document. The document ID number is located in the CiteNow! information or at the bottom of each document.

What is the Document Citation?

The document citation lists a citation for the document you have opened in Chicago Style. To see other styles and more citation information visit the How to Cite page.

How do I use CiteNow!?

CiteNow! is a feature that generates a citation for a specific document. It can be found in the document navigation bar within any document in Political Handbook of the World Online Edition. To create a citation for a document, simply click on the CiteNow! icon located in the left hand menu in the document window. A pop-up window will appear that allows you to choose the citation style that is appropriate for your research. Four citation styles are offered: APA, Chicago, MLA, and Bluebook. Chicago is the default style.

Citation styles for electronic materials are continually evolving. To provide the most up-to-date citation examples, the CQ Press editorial staff consulted the following:

To better serve our users, citations in the CQ Electronic Library incorporate document ID numbers and full URLs to the documents even where the above style guides do not require that information. This additional information facilitates locating documents in the CQ Electronic Library and thereby hews to the spirit of the style guides.

If you already have a document or a citation from Political Handbook of the World Online Edition, you may access that document directly. Each document will have a document URL printed at the bottom of the page. Enter the Document URL in the Address line of your web browser to view the document.

What is "Your Profile"?

Creating a "Your Profile" account will enable you to maintain a list of Favorite Documents. You will also be able to view a Document History of the last thirty records accessed under your account and maintain a list of Saved Searches. Your Favorite Documents, Document History, and Saved Searches may be retrieved during your next session on the Political Handbook of the World Online Edition. If you do not create a profile and log-in, all session information will be lost when you end the session.

Your personal account will remain until ninety days have passed since you last logged in under Your Profile.

Create a Profile

If you do not yet have a profile, click on "Your Profile" at the top left of the site and

  1. enter a username
  2. select "I want to create a new account"
  3. press the Proceed button

On the next page, enter a password in the boxes provided. In the Password Hint box, type a word or phrase that will help you remember your password.

Log on with Your Profile

If you have already created a profile, please enter your username and password to reload your saved information. If you have an account but cannot remember your password, click on "I forgot my password" to retrieve your password hint.

Password Hint

When you set up a username and password, you will be asked to provide a "Password Hint." This should be a word or phrase (other than the password) that will help you to remember your password.

If you have an account but cannot remember your password, enter your username, click on "I forgot my password," and press "Proceed." The information you entered in the "Password Hint" field will appear on the screen above the username field in red.

Profile Expiration

Your account remains in the system until ninety days have passed since you last logged in under Your Profile.

Profile vs. Main Account

The "Your Profile" log-in is saved within the main account belonging to your library or institution. "Your Profile" accounts contain information that can be accessed only with your username and password, but you must log in through the Political Handbook of the World Online Edition owned by your library or institution.

Saving Documents

At the top left corner of every document is a Save to Favorites box. Click to check this box and have this document added to your Favorite Documents in "Your Profile."

How do I e-mail documents?

From the document window you can email any document. Click on E-mail this Document in the top left hand corner of the document window. A pop-up window will appear. Fill out the required information: To, From, Subject, and Message and then Click on Send E-mail.

How do I format documents for printing?

In the top left hand corner of the document window click on Format for Printing and a printer-friendly version of the document will appear. From here, select a printing option from your web browser. To return to the unformatted document, click the back arrow in your web browser.

What are the notes that appear at the top of some documents?

Head notes appear at the topic of country entries for instances when current events impacted a significant aspect of a country after the print edition of the Political Handbook of the World was published and merited an update.

How can I view clearer, larger versions of the maps?

If a map looks small or unclear, click on the map to view an enlarged version. A third window will open with a larger version of the map. Maps that were wider than the constraints of the document window were shrunk down and made expandable by clicking on the image, which you may then view in full by using the scroll function located on the side of the window.

How does CQ Press define regions?

For the region browse, CQ Press assigned countries to only one region.

Africa contains Madagascar and all countries located on the continent of Africa.

Central America and the Caribbean includes countries that are north of Venezuela and South of Mexico.

Central and Eastern Europe encompasses countries in the heart of central Europe from as south as Albania and Macedonia, to Estonia in the North, as west Slovenia and Croatia, and as eastward Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria through Russia.

Central and Western Asia begins westward with Georgia and Azerbaijan extending east to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and as south as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

East Asia is comprised of six countries east of Central and Western Asia: China, Taiwan, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Mongolia.

Middle East is those countries north of Africa and south of Central and Western Asia.

North America extends from Mexico, through the United States to Canada.

South America is countries contained in the continent of South America between Chile and Argentina in the South and Venezuela in the North.

South Asia begins in the southward with Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, and Sri Lanka in the India Ocean through India and Bangladesh to Nepal and Bhutan.

Southeast Asia begins in Myanmar (Burma), continues southward through Laos, Thailand, Singapore, and westward to Philippines and Timor-Leste.

The Pacific is comprised of countries east of Southeast Asia, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and a number of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Western Europe begins with the United Kingdom in the West spreading north to Norway, Sweden, and Finland, south to Spain, and southwest to Italy and Greece.

Why are there entries for the Palestine Liberation Organization and Antarctica?

Political Handbook of the World elected to include one territory without a permanent population and government (Antarctica) as well as a number of states whose international status may, by choice or tradition, be somewhat impaired. In addition, we have included an article on the Palestine Liberation Organization, now no longer denied a territorial base, but whose status with regard to much of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is still evolving.

Are all political parties within a country listed in its country profile?

Many of the new multiparty systems remain in flux, with organizations frequently merging, splintering, or dissolving. Chronicling the national party systems and the individual parties has long been a strength of the Political Handbook of the World. To the fullest extent possible, given time and other constraints, the editors of the Handbook have provided a reasonably complete discussion of each country's party structure.

For more information, see the Preface.

Why can't I find the intergovernmental organization I'm looking for?

While we are quite aware of the political significance of various nongovernmental organizations (particularly multinational corporations), we have explicitly limited this section to groups with memberships composed of more than two states, governing bodies that meet with some degree of regularity, and groups who possess permanent secretariats or other continuing means for implementing collective decisions.

How does the Handbook treat divided countries such as China and Korea?

In the case of politically divided countries (now limited to China and Korea), a discussion of matters pertaining to the country as a whole is followed by a more detailed description of the distinct polities established within its territory. For China, this means there are separate entries for the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. For Korea, there are separate entries for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

How are the political system types defined?

The Political Systems browse option in the Political Handbook of the World Online Edition draws from several sources and uses a number of terms that might be unfamiliar to some users. Below are explanations of the terms used in this browse function, along with the source locations for where to find more information on these political system types.

Freedom House Rating

Freedom House's rating system of "Free," "Partly Free," and "Not Free" are derived from a numerical score that measures to what extent political rights and civil liberties are present in a country. Freedom House rates each country based on ten political rights and fifteen civil liberties questions. For each question, points are awarded on a scale of 0 to 4, where 0 represents the greatest degree and 4 the smallest degree to which rights and liberties are present. These two scores are then averaged to determine the overall freedom status of the country. Those whose average ratings are between 1.0 and 2.5 are considered Free, 3.0 to 5.0 Partly Free, and 5.5 to 7.0 Not Free.

Freedom House's data covers developments during the 2013 calendar year.

Source: Freedom in the World 2014. Available online at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014

Democracy Type

Democracy types were originally based on Harvard University Professor Pippa Norris' adaptation of Freedom House's annual ratings produced from 1972- 2000. Norris' used Freedom House's ratings to measure the length of a country's democratic stability and then to define its democracy type. (See above for more information on Freedom House's rating system.) CQ Press now assesses democracy types internally for updated information.

Older democracy: States with at least twenty years of continuous experience of democracy from 1980-2000 and a Freedom House rating of 1 to 2.5 in the most recent estimate.

Newer democracy: States with less than twenty years' experience with democracy and a current Freedom House rating of 1 to 2.5.

Semi-democracy: States that have been democratic for less than twenty years and had a current Freedom House rating of 3.0 to 5.0.

Non-democracy: States with a Freedom House score in 1999-2000 from 5.5 to 7. These include military-backed dictatorships, authoritarian states, elitist oligarchies, and absolute monarchies.

Note: CQ Press reserves the right to exercise editorial discretion concerning democracy type classifications for "borderline" states, based on most recent developments.

Regime Type

Democracy: A system of government in which all adult citizens of a country are entitled to participate equally in making laws and policy through competitive and meaningful elections.

Dictatorship: A form of rule associated with totalitarian and authoritarian political systems where a single sovereign or closed set of elites dictates the policies and laws of a country.

Type of Election System

Combined (Mixed): A system in which the choices expressed by voters are used to elect representatives through two different systems, one proportional representation system and one plurality/majority system. There are two kinds of mixed system: Parallel systems and Mixed Member Proportional systems.

Majoritarian: An electoral system designed to produce an absolute majority (50 per cent plus 1) of votes.

No elections: Country does not conduct elections.

Proportional Representation (PR): An electoral system family based on the principle of the conscious translation of the overall votes of a party or grouping into a corresponding proportion of seats in an elected body. For example, a party which wins 30 per cent of the votes would receive approximately 30 per cent of the seats. All PR systems require the use of multi-member districts. There are two major types of PR system, List PR and the Single Transferable Vote.

Source: Electoral System Design Database. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden. Copyright © International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Election Rules

Alternative Vote (AV): A candidate-centered, preferential plurality/majority system used in single-member districts in which voters use numbers to mark their preferences on the ballot paper. A candidate who receives an absolute majority (50 per cent plus 1) of valid first-preference votes is declared elected. If no candidate achieves an absolute majority of first preferences, the least successful candidates are eliminated and their votes reallocated until one candidate has an absolute majority of valid votes remaining.

Block Vote (AV): A plurality/majority system used in multi-member districts in which electors have as many votes as there are candidates to be elected. Voting is candidate-centered. The candidates with the highest vote totals win the seats.

First Past The Post (FPTP): The simplest form of plurality/majority electoral system, using single-member districts and candidate-centered voting. The winning candidate is the one who gains more votes than any other candidate, even if this is not an absolute majority of valid votes.

List Proportional Representation (List PR): A system in which each participant party or grouping presents a list of candidates for an electoral district, voters vote for a party, and parties receive seats in proportion to their overall share of the vote. Winning 179 candidates are taken from the lists. See Closed list, Open list and Free list.

No free elections: Country does not conduct free elections.

Mixed Member Proportional: A mixed (combined) system in which all the voters use the first electoral system, usually a plurality/majority system, to elect some of the representatives to an elected body. The remaining seats are then allocated to parties and groupings using the second electoral system, normally List PR, so as to compensate for disproportionality in their representation in the results from the first electoral system.

Parallel System: A mixed system in which the choices expressed by the voters are used to elect representatives through two different systems, usually one plurality/majority system and one proportional representation system, but where no account is taken of the seats allocated under the first system in calculating the results in the second system. See also Mixed-Member Proportional.

Party Block Vote (PBV): A plurality/majority system using multi-member districts in which voters cast a single party-centered vote for a party of choice, and do not choose between candidates. The party with most votes will win every seat in the electoral district.

Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV): An electoral system in which voters cast a single candidate-centered vote for one candidate in a multi-member district. The candidates with the highest vote totals are declared elected.

Single Transferable Vote (STV): A preferential candidate-centered proportional representation system used in multi-member districts. Candidates that surpass a specified quota of first-preference votes are immediately elected. In successive counts, votes are redistributed from least successful candidates, who are eliminated, and votes surplus to the quota are redistributed from successful candidates, until sufficient candidates are declared elected.

Two-Round System (TRS): A plurality/majority system in which a second election is held if no candidate achieves a given level of votes, most commonly an absolute majority (50 per cent plus one), in the first election round. A Two-Round System may take a majority-plurality form, in which it is possible for more than two candidates to contest the second round. An example is the French system, in which any candidate who has received the votes of over 12.5 per cent of the registered electorate in the first round can stand in the second round. The candidate who wins 183 the highest number of votes in the second round is then declared elected, regardless of whether they have won an absolute majority. Alternatively, a Two-Round System may take a majority run-off form, in which only the top two candidates in the first round contest the second round.

Source: Electoral System Design Database. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Sweden. Copyright © International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Party System

Multi party-hyper competitive: Party system in which candidates from numerous parties compete for and have won seats in a government's elected bodies.

Multi party-limited competition: Party system in which candidates from numerous parties compete for seats in the governments, but only candidates from a few parties hold seats in a government's elected bodies.

One party: Party system in which only one party is permitted to hold seats in government offices.

Two party: Party system in which only two parties hold the vast majority of seats in a government's elected bodies.

System of Government

Federal: Political system in which power and/or sovereignty are divided between central and regional units.

Unitary: System of government in which all power is centralized in a national government, and local or regional governments are created by national government for administrative convenience.

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