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Kenothronism is a government system which is ostensibly a monarchy, but does not have an actual reigning monarch on the throne. It does not include interregna or condominium-type situations. The term was coined by the 19th century Neofrancian author Trefle Jolicoeur who applied it to his own nation (New Francy) as well as to medieval Kemr, due to a misunderstanding concerning Kemr's historic association with the Roman Empire, believing they linked themselves with Rome rather than Constantinople. The term saw little usage, until the breakup of the Ottoman and Austrian Empires, and the creation of several new kingdoms, often without a king for a period of time.

Kenothronism tends to be a temporary form of government, either by choosing a king (as with Greece, which had a brief kenothronist phase between its independence from the Ottoman Empire and the selection of George I as king), or by abandoning the monarchic pretenses and becoming a republic. Luxemburg's kenothronist phase stemmed from French King Louis-Philipe's unwillingness to claim the title of Grand Duke and his simultaneous desire to continue to control the territory.

There was controversy in the 20th century over whether the SNORist monarchies should be classified as kenothronist. Within the Russian sphere of influence, the term generally was applied to such situations, but in the West, SNORist states were generally referred to as "pseudo-monarchies" or even puppet or satellite states, the difference being that foreign domination sustained the pseudo-monarchies, while internal factors sustained such kenothronist states as New Francy.

In 2002, David Langevin controversially suggested that kenothronism was but one manifestation of a phenomenon he called Abdoregalism, which conflated kenothronism and pseudo-monarchism, as well as situations like the NAL in which the monarchy was more abstract (applying to one of several individuals, including a literal empty throne, depending on context).


The Imperial Party in Hunan has proposed placing the Emperor of China on the throne of Hunan. As there were no emperor of Hunan, the country was a kenothronist state. By 2016, this position was made moot by the ascension of Fuxing to the throne.