Some proposals for a Cascadian government would take the form of a federal parliamentary republic, as in the German government. In a federal parliamentary government, an elected President functions as head of state, but ministers of parliament are endowed with most executive power. The President is nominally commander-in-chief and head of a department of state, although these functions can be functionally governed through parliament. As in other parliamentary systems, the President, as head of state, would be responsible for convening parliament, calling elections, and administering matters of state.

In a federal parliamentary system, powers are delegated among sovereign states and the federal government constitutionally, with unenumerated powers reserved to either the states, in a subsidiarizing government, or to the federal government, in centralizing systems. This can be opposed to a unitary republic, where the national government is sovereign, and regional or local powers are explicitly devolved by the central government.