In May 1999, the United Kingdom took an historic step toward becoming a regionalized state with the creation of the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament. This article outlines the historical background and new government architecture of the UK. This new architecture must be understood within a federal model and as a possible step toward federalism, despite official aversion to the term. Serious questions must be raised about whether the new intergovernmental mechanisms, such as the Joint Ministerial Committee, will be effective, given the severe asymmetries in the new system. Instead of a multilateral intergovernmental system, such as characterizes most federal systems, three very different, bilateral intergovernmental arrangements are developing between each territory and London.

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