Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party.[1]

While an Oxford English Dictionary definition of partisan includes adherents of a party, cause, person, etc.,[2] in most cases, nonpartisan refers specifically to political party connections rather than being the strict antonym of "partisan".[3][4][5]

United States

Historian Sean Wilentz argues that from the days of George Washington's farewell address, to Senator Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic national convention in 2004, politicians have called upon Americans to move beyond parties. Wilentz calls this the post-partisan style, and argues that "the antiparty current is by definition antidemocratic, as political parties have been the only reliable electoral vehicles for advancing the ideas and interests of ordinary voters".[6] However, nonpartisan elections are quite common at the local level, primarily in an effort to keep national issues from being mixed up with local issues.[7]

Today, nonpartisan elections are generally held for municipal and county offices, especially school board, and are also common in the election of judges. The unicameral Nebraska State Legislature is the only state legislature that is entirely officially nonpartisan.

Although elections may be officially nonpartisan, in some elections (usually involving larger cities or counties, as well as the Nebraska unicameral) the party affiliations of candidates are generally known, most commonly by the groups endorsing a particular candidate (e.g., a candidate endorsed by a labor union would be generally affiliated with the Democratic Party, while a candidate endorsed by a business coalition would be generally affiliated with the Republican Party).[8]

Churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations

Churches and charities in the United States are mainly formed under US Internal Revenue Service tax code 501(c)(3) non-profit organization regulations. To maintain that tax-exempt status, and the ability for donors to take a tax deduction, they are required to remain nonpartisan.[9]

This has caused some to question the ability of organizations that have the appearance of partisanship. Some, churches, especially some predominantly African American churches, promote Democratic candidates. Some predominantly white Evangelical churches are seen as promoting Republican candidates. Most churches regardless of color were seen to promote ballot measures that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman before those issues were resolved in the Supreme Court holding in the Obergefell case.

The Brookings Institution is a Washington, D.C. think tank and 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan organization. Since its founding in 1916, it has had both identifiable Republicans and Democrats among its leadership. Owing to leadership changes such as this, some argue that it is a good example of a nonpartisan organization. The New York Times has at times listed the organization as being liberal, liberal-centrist, centrist, and conservative.[10][11][12][13][14] In 2008, The New York Times published an article where it referred to the "conservative Brookings Institution".[10]

Nonpartisan League

In the Progressive Era, the Nonpartisan League was an influential socialist political movement, especially in the Upper Midwest, particularly during the 1910s and 1920s. It also contributed much to the ideology of the former Progressive Party of Canada. It went into decline and merged with the Democratic Party of North Dakota to form the North Dakota Democratic–NPL Party in 1956.


In the history of Milwaukee, the "Nonpartisans" were an unofficial but widely recognized coalition of Republicans and Democrats who cooperated in an effort to keep Milwaukee's Sewer Socialists out of as many offices as possible, including in elections which were officially non-partisan, but in which Socialists and "Nonpartisans" were clearly identified in the press.[15] (Such candidates were sometimes called "fusion" candidates.[16]) This lasted from the 1910s[17] well into the 1940s. (The similar effort in 1888 to prevent Herman Kroeger's election as a Union Labor candidate had been conducted under the banner of a temporary "Citizen's Party" label.[18]) During the period of Socialist-Progressive cooperation (1935-1941), the two sides were called "Progressives" and "Nonpartisans".[19]


In India, the Jaago Re! One Billion Votes campaign was a non-partisan campaign initiated by Tata Tea, and Janaagraha to encourage citizens to vote in the 2009 Indian general election. The campaign was a non-partisan campaign initiated by Anal Saha.

See also



  1. ^ The Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines nonpartisan as: Not partisan; free from party affiliation, bias, or designation. "Webster: Nonpartisan". Retrieved 2009-08-13.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed, partisan
  3. ^ Cambridge Dictionary - nonpartisan
  4. ^ Macmillan Dictionary - nonpartisan
  5. ^ American Heritage Dictionary - nonpartisan
    Collins English Dictionary - nonpartisan
    Websters College Dictionary - nonpartisan
  6. ^ p. 28
  7. ^ Sean Wilentz (2016). The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics. W. W. Norton. p. 45.
  8. ^ Steffen Schmidt (2007). American Government and Politics Today - Texas Edition, 2007-2008. Cengage Learning. p. 850.
  9. ^ Eyes wide shut: The ambiguous "political activity" prohibition and its effects on 501(c)(3) organizations, Houston Business and Tax Journal, by Amelia Elacqua, 2008, pages 118, 119 and 141, referenced February 16, 2012
  10. ^ a b Glaberson, William (November 16, 2008). "Closing Guantánamo may not be easy". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Next Generation of Conservatives (By the Dormful) by Jason DeParle, New York Times, June 14, 2005
  12. ^ Silicon Valley's New Think Tank Stakes Out 'Radical Center' by Neil A. Lewis, New York Times, May 15, 1999
  13. ^ ECONOMIC VIEW; Friedman And Keynes, Trading Pedestals by Tom Redburn, New York Times, September 24, 2000
  14. ^ Marshall A. Robinson, 83, Former Foundation Chief, Dies by Wolfgang Saxon, New York Times, January 13, 2006
  15. ^ "School Board Returns Even: Both Nonpartisans and Socialists Pick Five Candidates Each" Milwaukee Journal March 18, 1931; p. 1, col. 7
  16. ^ "Fusion In Many Districts; Old Parties Unite On Legislative Candidates" Milwaukee Journal November 1, 1918; p. 9, col. 2
  17. ^ Avella, Steven M. Milwaukee Catholicism: Essays on Church and Community Milwaukee: Milwaukee Knights of Columbus, 1991; pp. 43-44
  18. ^ Wells, Robert W. This Is Milwaukee New York: Doubleday, 1970; p. 169
  19. ^ Cibulka, James G. and Olson, Frederick I. "The Organization of the Milwaukee Public School System" in Seeds of Crisis: Public Schooling in Milwaukee since 1920 Rury, John L. and Cassell, Frank A., eds. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993; p. 104


Alexander Van der Bellen

Alexander Van der Bellen (German pronunciation: [ˌalɛˈksandɐ fan dɛɐ̯ ˈbɛlən]; born 18 January 1944) is the current President of Austria. He previously served as a professor of economics at the University of Vienna, and after joining politics, as the spokesman of the Austrian Green Party.As a descendant of the Russian aristocratic von der Bellen (Van der Bellen) family of patrilineal Dutch ancestry, he was born in Austria to Russian and Estonian parents who were refugees from Stalinism, and became a naturalized citizen of Austria together with his parents in 1958. He was a member of the National Council representing the Green Party there from 1994 to 2012, and served as both leader of the party as well as its parliamentary group.He ran as a nominally independent candidate supported by the Greens in the 2016 presidential election, and finished second out of six in the first round before winning the second round against Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party. On 1 July, before he was due to be sworn into office, the results of the second round of voting were annulled by the Constitutional Court due to absentee votes being improperly counted too early, requiring the election to be re-held. On 4 December 2016, he won the ensuing election, taking approximately 54% of the vote.Van der Bellen has described himself as a centrist liberal and supports green and social liberal policies. As discussed in his 2015 book, he is supportive of the European Union and advocates European federalism. During the presidential election, he appealed to the political centre and was endorsed by the leaders of both the Social Democratic Party and the conservative People's Party. Van der Bellen is the second green president of a European Union country (after Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia) and the first to be directly elected by popular vote.

Bohdan Matkivskyi

Bohdan Matkivskyi (Ukrainian: Богдан Миронович Матківський, (was born on February 14, 1980, Truskavets, Lviv Oblast) is a Ukrainian politician. A People's Deputy of Ukraine of the VIIIth convocation.

Independent politician

An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.

Independents may support policies which are different from those of the major political parties.

Independents may support a party's platform, but choose to stand as an independent because they don't feel the party adequately follows their platform.

In some parts of the world, electors may have a tradition of electing independents, so standing for a political party is a disadvantage.

In some countries (such as Russia), a political party can only be registered if it has many members in more than one region, but in certain regions only a minority of electors support the major parties.

In some countries (such as Kuwait), political parties are illegal and all candidates thus stand as independents.

In some countries where politics are otherwise traditionally partisan, such as the United States, subnational bodies and offices such as the Nebraska State Legislature and various directly-elected judicial and executive positions are nonpartisan and require politicians to abstain from running for office as part of a political party, even if they may be a member of one.

In some countries where politics is otherwise traditionally partisan, such as Mongolia, the incumbent President must always be an independent and cannot run for reelection as a member of a political party.Some independent politicians may be associated with a political party, perhaps as former members of it, or else have views that align with it, but choose not to stand in its name, or are unable to do so because the party in question has selected another candidate. Others may belong to or support a political party at the national level but believe they should not formally represent it (and thus be subject to its policies) at another level.

In running for public office, independents sometimes choose to form a party or alliance with other independents, and may formally register their party or alliance. Even where the word "independent" is used, such alliances have much in common with a political party, especially if there is an organization which needs to approve the "independent" candidates.

Non-partisan democracy

Nonpartisan democracy (also no-party democracy) is a system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections take place without reference to political parties. Sometimes electioneering and even speaking about candidates may be discouraged, so as not to prejudice others' decisions or create a contentious atmosphere.

In many nations, the head of state is nonpartisan, even if the prime minister and parliament are chosen in partisan elections. Such heads of state are expected to remain neutral with regards to partisan politics. In a number of parliamentary or semi-presidential countries, some presidents are non-partisan, or receive cross-party support.

Nonpartisan systems may be de jure, meaning political parties are either outlawed entirely or legally prevented from participating in elections at certain levels of government, or de facto if no such laws exist and yet there are no political parties. On the national level, de facto nonpartisan systems mostly represent very small populations, such as in Niue, Tuvalu, and Palau. Several Persian Gulf states are de jure nonpartisan, including Oman and Kuwait; the legislatures in these governments typically have advisory capacity only, as they may comment on laws proposed by the executive branch but are unable to create laws themselves. De jure nonpartisan national governments sometimes resemble one-party states, but governments of the latter type explicitly recognize a single political party that all officials are required to be a member of.

Unless there are legal restrictions on political parties, factions within nonpartisan governments may evolve into political parties. The United States of America initially did not have enfranchised political parties, but these evolved soon after independence.

Nonpartisanism in the United States

Nonpartisanism in the United States is organized under United States Internal Revenue Code (501(c)) that qualifies certain non-profit organizations for tax-exempt status because they refrain from engaging in certain prohibited political activities. The designation "nonpartisan" usually reflects a claim made by organizations about themselves, or by commentators, and not an official category per American law. Rather, certain types of nonprofit organizations are under varying requirements to refrain from election-related political activities, or may be taxed to the extent they engage in electoral politics, so the word affirms a legal requirement. In this context, "nonpartisan" means that the organization, by US tax law, is prohibited from supporting or opposing political candidates, parties, and in some cases other votes like propositions, directly or indirectly, but does not mean that the organization cannot take positions on political issues.

Wellington Citizens' Association

The Wellington Citizens' Association, was a right-leaning local body electoral ticket in Wellington, New Zealand. It was formed in 1911 by merging the selection process of council candidates of several civic interest groups and business lobby groups. Its main ambitions were to continue to control the Wellington City Council, reduce local spending and deny left-leaning Labour Party candidates being elected.

Your Political Party of British Columbia

Your Political Party of British Columbia, or simply Your Party, is a minor political party in British Columbia, Canada. The party is registered with Elections BC and has participated in the 2005, 2009, and 2013 general elections. The party advocates more transparency and accountability in government. It nominated one candidate in 2005, two in 2009 and 2013, and 10 in 2017, all in the Tri-Cities area. No Your Party candidate has been elected to office as of 2017. Its best result was a fourth-place finish with 442 votes (1.68%) in Port Moody-Westwood in 2005.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.