A two-party system is a party system where two major political parties dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority or governing party while the other is the minority or opposition party. Around the world, the term has different senses. For example, in the United States, Jamaica, and Malta, the sense of two-party system describes an arrangement in which all or nearly all elected officials belong to one of the only two major parties, and third parties rarely win any seats in the legislature. In such arrangements, two-party systems are thought to result from various factors like winner-takes-all election rules. In such systems, while chances for third-party candidates winning election to major national office are remote, it is possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties. In contrast, in the United Kingdom and Australia and in other parliamentary systems and elsewhere, the term two-party system is sometimes used to indicate an arrangement in which two major parties dominate elections but in which there are viable third parties which do win seats in the legislature, and in which the two major parties exert proportionately greater influence than their percentage of votes would suggest.
Explanations for why a political system with free elections may evolve into a two-party system have been debated. A leading theory, referred to as Duverger's law, states that two parties are a natural result of a winner-take-all voting system.
In countries such as Britain, two major parties emerge which have strong influence and tend to elect most of the candidates, but a multitude of lesser parties exist with varying degrees of influence, and sometimes these lesser parties are able to elect officials who participate in the legislature. In political systems based on the Westminster system, which is a particular style of parliamentary democracy based on the British model and found in many commonwealth countries, a majority party will form the government and the minority party will form the opposition, and coalitions of lesser parties are possible; in the rare circumstance in which neither party is the majority, a hung parliament arises. Sometimes these systems are described as two-party systems but they are usually referred to as multi-party systems. There is not always a sharp boundary between a two-party system and a multi-party system.
Generally, a two-party system becomes a dichotomous division of the political spectrum with an ostensibly right-wing and left-wing party: the Nationalist Party vs. the Labour Party in Malta, Liberal/National Coalition vs. Labor in Australia, Republicans vs. Democrats in the United States and the Conservative Party vs. the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.
Other parties in these countries may have seen candidates elected to local or subnational office, however. Historian John Hicks claims that the United States has never possessed for any considerable period of time the two party system in its pure and undefiled form.
In some governments, certain chambers may resemble a two-party system and others a multi-party system. For example, the politics of Australia are largely two-party (the Liberal/National Coalition is often considered a single party at a national level due to their long-standing alliance in forming government and additionally rarely compete for the same seat) for the Australian House of Representatives, which is elected by instant-runoff voting, known within Australia as preferential voting. However, third parties are more common in the Australian Senate, which uses a proportional voting system more amenable to minor parties.
In the politics of Canada, while having a multiparty system federally and in the largest provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba as well as the smaller New Brunswick, Newfoundland And Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon Territory many of the provinces have effectively become two-party systems in which only two parties regularly get members elected. Examples include British Columbia (where the battles are between the New Democratic Party and the BC Liberals), Alberta (between the Alberta New Democratic Party and United Conservative Party), Saskatchewan (between the Saskatchewan Party and New Democratic Party), New Brunswick (between the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives) and Prince Edward Island (between Liberals and Progressive Conservatives).
The English speaking countries of the Caribbean while inheriting their basic political system from Great Britain have become two party systems. The politics of Jamaica are between the People's National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party. The politics of Guyana are between the People's Progressive Party and APNU which is actually a coalition of smaller parties. The politics of Trinidad and Tobago are between the People's National Movement and the People's Partnership which is also a coalition. The Politics of Belize are between the United Democratic Party and the People's United Party. The Politics of the Bahamas are between the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement. The politics of Barbados are between the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party.
The politics of Zimbabwe are effectively a two party system between the Robert Mugabe founded Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the opposition coalition Movement for Democratic Change.
India has a multi-party system but also shows characteristics of a two party system with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the two main players. It is to be noted that both UPA and NDA are not two political parties but alliances of several smaller parties. Other smaller parties not aligned with either NDA or UPA exist, and overall command about 20% of the 2009 seats in the Lok Sabha and had further increased to 28% in 2014 general elections
Most Latin American countries also have presidential systems very similar to the US often with winner takes all systems. Due to the common accumulation of power in the Presidential office both the official party and the main opposition became important political protagonists causing historically two-party systems. Some of the first manifestations of this particularity was with the liberals and conservatives that often fought for power in all Latin America causing the first two-party systems in most Latin American countries which often lead to civil wars in places like Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, the Central American Republic and Peru, with fights focusing specially on opposing/defending the privileges of the Catholic Church and the creole aristocracy. Other examples of primitive two-party systems included the Pelucones vs Pipiolos in Chile, Federalists vs Unitarians in Argentina, Colorados vs Liberals in Paraguay and Colorados vs Nationals in Uruguay.
However, as in other regions, the original rivalry between liberals and conservatives was overtaken by a rivalry between center-left (often social-democratic) parties vs center-right liberal conservative parties, focusing more in economic differences than in cultural and religious differences as it was common during the liberal vs conservative period. Examples of this include National Liberation Party vs Social Christian Unity Party in Costa Rica, the peronista Justicialist Party vs Radical Civic Union in Argentina, Democratic Action vs COPEI in Venezuela, the Colombian Liberal Party (despite the name, a democratic socialist party) vs the Colombian Conservative Party in Colombia, Democratic Revolutionary Party vs Panameñista Party in Panama and Liberal Party vs National Party in Honduras. After the democratization of Central America following the end of the Central American crisis in the 90s former far-left guerrillas and former right-wing authoritarian parties, now in peace, make some similar two-party systems in countries like Nicaragua between the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the Liberals and in El Salvador between the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front and the Nationalist Republican Alliance.
The traditional two-party dynamic started to break after a while, especially in early 2000s; alternative parties won elections breaking the traditional two-party systems including Rafael Caldera's (National Convergence) victory in Venezuela in 1993, Álvaro Uribe (Colombia First) victory in 2002, Tabaré Vázquez (Broad Front) victory in Uruguay in 2004, Ricardo Martinelli (Democratic Change) victory in 2009 in Panama, Luis Guillermo Solís (Citizens' Action Party ) victory in 2014 in Costa Rica, Mauricio Macri (Republican Proposal) victory in 2015 in Argentina and Nayib Bukele (Grand Alliance for National Unity) victory in 2019 in El Salvador, all of them from non-traditional third parties in their respective countries. In some countries like Chile and Venezuela the political system is now split in two large multy-party alliances or blocs, one on the left and one on the right of the spectrum (Concertación/New Majority vs Alliance in Chile, Democratic Unity Roundtable vs Great Patriotic Pole in Venezuela).
Malta is somewhat unusual in that while the electoral system is single transferable vote (STV), traditionally associated with proportional representation, minor parties have not earned much success. Politics is dominated between the centre-left Labour Party and the centre-right Nationalist Party, with no third parties winning seats in Parliament between 1962 and 2017.
There is general agreement that the United States has a two-party system; historically, there have been few instances in which third party candidates won an election. In the First Party System, only Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Party and Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party were significant political parties. Toward the end of the First Party System, the Republicans dominated a one-party system (primarily under the Presidency of James Monroe). Under the Second Party System, the Democratic-Republican Party split during the election of 1824 into Adams' Men and Jackson's Men. In 1828, the modern Democratic Party formed in support of Andrew Jackson. The National Republicans were formed in support of John Quincy Adams. After the National Republicans collapsed, the Whig Party and the Free Soil Party quickly formed and collapsed. In 1854, the modern Republican Party formed from a loose coalition of former Whigs, Free Soilers and other anti-slavery activists. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president in 1860.
During the Third Party System, the Republican Party was the dominant political faction, but the Democrats held a strong, loyal coalition in the Solid South. During the Fourth Party System, the Republicans remained the dominant Presidential party, although Democrats Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were both elected to two terms. In 1932, at the onset of the Fifth Party System, Democrats took firm control of national politics with the landslide victories of Franklin D. Roosevelt in four consecutive elections. Other than the two terms of Republican Dwight Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961, Democrats retained firm control of the Presidency until the mid-1960s. Since the mid-1960s, despite a number of landslides (such as Richard Nixon carrying 49 states and 61% of the popular vote over George McGovern in 1972; Ronald Reagan carrying 49 states and 58% of the popular vote over Walter Mondale in 1984), Presidential elections have been competitive between the predominant Republican and Democratic parties and no one party has been able to hold the Presidency for more than three consecutive terms. In the election of 2012, only 4% separated the popular vote between Barack Obama (51%) and Mitt Romney (47%), although Obama won the electoral vote by a landslide (332–206).
Throughout every American party system, no third party has won a Presidential election or majorities in either house of Congress. Despite that, third parties and third party candidates have gained traction and support. In the election of 1912, Theodore Roosevelt won 27% of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes running as a Progressive. In the 1992 Presidential election, Ross Perot won 19% of the popular vote but no electoral votes running as an Independent.
Furthermore, the Lebanese Parliament is mainly made up of two bipartisan alliances. Although both alliances are made up of several political parties on both ends of the political spectrum the two way political situation has mainly arisen due to strong ideological differences in the electorate. Once again this can mainly be attributed to the winner takes all thesis.
Historically, Brazil had a two-party system for most of its military dictatorship (1964–1985): the military junta banned all existing parties when it took power and created a pro-government party, the National Renewal Alliance and an official opposition party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement. The two parties were dissolved in 1979, when the regime allowed other parties to form.
A report in The Christian Science Monitor in 2008 suggested that Spain was moving towards a "greater two-party system" while acknowledging that Spain has "many small parties". However a 2015 article published by WashingtonPost.com written by academic Fernando Casal Bértoa noted the decline in support for the two main parties, the People's Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in recent years, with these two parties winning only 52 percent of the votes in that year's regional and local elections. He explained this as being due to the Spanish economic crisis, a series of political corruption scandals and broken campaign promises. He argued that the emergence of the new Citizens and Podemos parties would mean the political system would evolve into a two-bloc system, with an alliance of the PP and Citizens on the right facing a leftist coalition of PSOE, Podemos and the United Left.
Two-party systems can be contrasted with:
There are several reasons why, in some systems, two major parties dominate the political landscape. There has been speculation that a two-party system arose in the United States from early political battling between the federalists and anti-federalists in the first few decades after the ratification of the Constitution, according to several views. In addition, there has been more speculation that the winner-takes-all electoral system as well as particular state and federal laws regarding voting procedures helped to cause a two-party system.
Political scientists such as Maurice Duverger and William H. Riker claim that there are strong correlations between voting rules and type of party system. Jeffrey D. Sachs agreed that there was a link between voting arrangements and the effective number of parties. Sachs explained how the first-past-the-post voting arrangement tended to promote a two-party system:
The main reason for America's majoritarian character is the electoral system for Congress. Members of Congress are elected in single-member districts according to the "first-past-the-post" (FPTP) principle, meaning that the candidate with the plurality of votes is the winner of the congressional seat. The losing party or parties win no representation at all. The first-past-the-post election tends to produce a small number of major parties, perhaps just two, a principle known in political science as Duverger's Law. Smaller parties are trampled in first-past-the-post elections.— Sachs, The Price of Civilization, 2011
Consider a system in which voters can vote for any candidate from any one of many parties. Suppose further that if a party gets 15% of votes, then that party will win 15% of the seats in the legislature. This is termed proportional representation or more accurately as party-proportional representation. Political scientists speculate that proportional representation leads logically to multi-party systems, since it allows new parties to build a niche in the legislature:
Because even a minor party may still obtain at least a few seats in the legislature, smaller parties have a greater incentive to organize under such electoral systems than they do in the United States.— Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes (2008)
In contrast, a voting system that allows only a single winner for each possible legislative seat is sometimes termed a plurality voting system or single-winner voting system and is usually described under the heading of a winner-takes-all arrangement. Each voter can cast a single vote for any candidate within any given legislative district, but the candidate with the most votes wins the seat, although variants, such as requiring a majority, are sometimes used. What happens is that in a general election, a party that consistently comes in third in every district is unlikely to win any legislative seats even if there is a significant proportion of the electorate favoring its positions. This arrangement strongly favors large and well–organized political parties that are able to appeal to voters in many districts and hence win many seats, and discourages smaller or regional parties. Politically oriented people consider their only realistic way to capture political power is to run under the auspices of the two dominant parties.
In the U.S., forty-eight states have a standard winner-takes-all electoral system for amassing presidential votes in the Electoral College system. The winner-takes-all principle applies in presidential elections, since if a presidential candidate gets the most votes in any particular state, all of the electoral votes from that state are awarded. In all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, the presidential candidate winning a plurality of votes wins all of the electoral votes, a practice called the unit rule.
Duverger concluded that "plurality election single-ballot procedures are likely to produce two-party systems, whereas proportional representation and runoff designs encourage multipartyism." He suggested there were two reasons why winner-takes-all systems leads to a two-party system. First, the weaker parties are pressured to form an alliance, sometimes called a fusion, to try to become big enough to challenge a large dominant party and, in so doing, gain political clout in the legislature. Second, voters learn, over time, not to vote for candidates outside of one of the two large parties since their votes for third party candidates are usually ineffectual. As a result, weaker parties are eliminated by voters over time. Duverger pointed to statistics and tactics to suggest that voters tended to gravitate towards one of the two main parties, a phenomenon which he called polarization, and tend to shun third parties. For example, some analysts suggest that the Electoral College system in the United States, by favoring a system of winner-takes-all in presidential elections, is a structural choice favoring only two major parties.
Gary Cox suggested that America's two-party system was highly related with economic prosperity in the country:
The bounty of the American economy, the fluidity of American society, the remarkable unity of the American people, and, most important, the success of the American experiment have all mitigated against the emergence of large dissenting groups that would seek satisfaction of their special needs through the formation of political parties.— Cox, according to George Edwards
An effort in 2012 by centrist groups to promote ballot access by Third Party candidates called Americans Elect spent $15 million to get ballot access but failed to elect any candidates. The lack of choice in a two-party model in politics has often been compared to the variety of choices in the marketplace.
Politics has lagged our social and business evolution ... There are 30 brands of Pringles in our local grocery store. How is it that Americans have so much selection for potato chips and only two brands – and not very good ones – for political parties?— Scott Ehredt of the Centrist Alliance
Third parties, meaning a party other than one of the two dominant parties, are possible in two-party systems, but they are often unlikely to exert much influence by gaining control of legislatures or by winning elections. While there are occasional opinions in the media expressed about the possibility of third parties emerging in the United States, for example, political insiders such as the 1980 presidential candidate John Anderson think the chances of one appearing in the early twenty-first century is remote. A report in The Guardian suggested that American politics has been "stuck in a two-way fight between Republicans and Democrats" since the Civil War, and that third-party runs had little meaningful success.
Third parties in a two-party system can be:
When third parties are built around an ideology which is at odds with the majority mindset, many members belong to such a party not for the purpose of expecting electoral success but rather for personal or psychological reasons. In the U.S., third parties include older ones such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party and newer ones such as the Pirate Party. Many believe that third parties don't affect American politics by winning elections, but they can act as "spoilers" by taking votes from one of the two major parties. They act like barometers of change in the political mood since they push the major parties to consider their demands. An analysis in New York Magazine by Ryan Lizza in 2006 suggested that third parties arose from time to time in the nineteenth century around single-issue movements such as abolition, women's suffrage, and the direct election of senators, but were less prominent in the twentieth century.
A so-called third party in the United Kingdom are the Liberal Democrats. In the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats received 23% of the votes but only 9% of the seats in the House of Commons. While electoral results do not necessarily translate into legislative seats, the Liberal Democrats can exert influence if there is a situation such as a hung parliament. In this instance, neither of the two main parties (at present, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party) have sufficient authority to run the government. Accordingly, the Liberal Democrats can in theory exert tremendous influence in such a situation since they can ally with one of the two main parties to form a coalition. This happened in the Coalition government of 2010. Yet in that more than 13% of the seats in the British House of Commons are held in 2011 by representatives of political parties other than the two leading political parties of that nation, contemporary Britain is considered by some to be a multi-party system, and not a two-party system. The two party system in the United Kingdom allows for other parties to exist, although the main two parties tend to dominate politics; in this arrangement, other parties are not excluded and can win seats in Parliament. In contrast, the two party system in the United States has been described as a duopoly or an enforced two-party system, such that politics is almost entirely dominated by either the Republicans or Democrats, and third parties rarely win seats in Congress.
Some historians have suggested that two-party systems promote centrism and encourage political parties to find common positions which appeal to wide swaths of the electorate. It can lead to political stability which leads, in turn, to economic growth. Historian Patrick Allitt of the Teaching Company suggested that it is difficult to overestimate the long term economic benefits of political stability. Sometimes two-party systems have been seen as preferable to multi-party systems because they are simpler to govern, with less fractiousness and greater harmony, since it discourages radical minor parties, while multi-party systems can sometimes lead to hung parliaments. Italy, with a multi-party system, has had years of divisive politics since 2000, although analyst Silvia Aloisi suggested in 2008 that the nation may be moving closer to a two-party arrangement. The two-party has been identified as simpler since there are fewer voting choices.
Two-party systems have been criticized for downplaying alternative views, being less competitive, encouraging voter apathy since there is a perception of fewer choices, and putting a damper on debate within a nation. In a proportional representation system, lesser parties can moderate policy since they are not usually eliminated from government. One analyst suggested the two-party approach may not promote inter-party compromise but may encourage partisanship. In The Tyranny of the Two-party system, Lisa Jane Disch criticizes two-party systems for failing to provide enough options since only two choices are permitted on the ballot. She wrote:
Herein lies the central tension of the two–party doctrine. It identifies popular sovereignty with choice, and then limits choice to one party or the other. If there is any truth to Schattschneider's analogy between elections and markets, America's faith in the two–party system begs the following question: Why do voters accept as the ultimate in political freedom a binary option they would surely protest as consumers? ... This is the tyranny of the two–party system, the construct that persuades United States citizens to accept two–party contests as a condition of electoral democracy.— Lisa Jane Disch, 2002
There have been arguments that the winner-take-all mechanism discourages independent or third-party candidates from running for office or promulgating their views. Ross Perot's former campaign manager wrote that the problem with having only two parties is that the nation loses "the ability for things to bubble up from the body politic and give voice to things that aren't being voiced by the major parties." One analyst suggested that parliamentary systems, which typically are multi-party in nature, lead to a better "centralization of policy expertise" in government. Multi-party governments permit wider and more diverse viewpoints in government, and encourage dominant parties to make deals with weaker parties to form winning coalitions. Analyst Chris Weigant of the Huffington Post wrote that "the parliamentary system is inherently much more open to minority parties getting much better representation than third parties do in the American system". After an election in which the party changes, there can be a "polar shift in policy-making" when voters react to changes.
Political analyst A. G. Roderick, writing in his book Two Tyrants, argued that the two American parties, the Republicans and Democrats, are highly unpopular in 2015, and are not part of the political framework of state governments, and do not represent 47% of the electorate who identify themselves as "independents". He makes a case that the American president should be elected on a non-partisan basis, and asserts that both political parties are "cut from the same cloth of corruption and corporate influence."
The two-party system, in the sense of the looser definition, where two parties dominate politics but in which third parties can elect members and gain some representation in the legislature, can be traced to the development of political parties in the United Kingdom. There was a division in English politics at the time of the Civil War and Glorious Revolution in the late 17th century. The Whigs supported Protestant constitutional monarchy against absolute rule and the Tories, originating in the Royalist (or "Cavalier") faction of the English Civil War, were conservative royalist supporters of a strong monarchy as a counterbalance to the republican tendencies of Parliament. In the following century, the Whig party's support base widened to include emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants.
The basic matters of principle that defined the struggle between the two factions, were concerning the nature of constitutional monarchy, the desirability of a Catholic king, the extension of religious toleration to nonconformist Protestants, and other issues that had been put on the liberal agenda through the political concepts propounded by John Locke, Algernon Sidney and others.
Vigorous struggle between the two factions characterised the period from the Glorious Revolution to the 1715 Hanoverian succession, over the legacy of the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty and the nature of the new constitutional state. This proto two-party system fell into relative abeyance after the accession to the throne of George I and the consequent period of Whig supremacy under Robert Walpole, during which the Tories were systematically purged from high positions in government. However, although the Tories were dismissed from office for half a century, they still retained a measure of party cohesion under William Wyndham and acted as a united, though unavailing, opposition to Whig corruption and scandals. At times they cooperated with the "Opposition Whigs", Whigs who were in opposition to the Whig government; however, the ideological gap between the Tories and the Opposition Whigs prevented them from coalescing as a single party.
The old Whig leadership dissolved in the 1760s into a decade of factional chaos with distinct "Grenvillite", "Bedfordite", "Rockinghamite", and "Chathamite" factions successively in power, and all referring to themselves as "Whigs". Out of this chaos, the first distinctive parties emerged. The first such party was the Rockingham Whigs under the leadership of Charles Watson-Wentworth and the intellectual guidance of the political philosopher Edmund Burke. Burke laid out a philosophy that described the basic framework of the political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed". As opposed to the instability of the earlier factions, which were often tied to a particular leader and could disintegrate if removed from power, the two party system was centred on a set of core principles held by both sides and that allowed the party out of power to remain as the Loyal Opposition to the governing party.
A genuine two-party system began to emerge, with the accession to power of William Pitt the Younger in 1783 leading the new Tories, against a reconstituted "Whig" party led by the radical politician Charles James Fox.
The two party system matured in the early 19th century era of political reform, when the franchise was widened and politics entered into the basic divide between conservatism and liberalism that has fundamentally endured up to the present. The modern Conservative Party was created out of the "Pittite" Tories by Robert Peel, who issued the Tamworth Manifesto in 1834 which set out the basic principles of Conservatism – the necessity in specific cases of reform in order to survive, but an opposition to unnecessary change, that could lead to "a perpetual vortex of agitation". Meanwhile, the Whigs, along with free trade Tory followers of Robert Peel, and independent Radicals, formed the Liberal Party under Lord Palmerston in 1859, and transformed into a party of the growing urban middle-class, under the long leadership of William Ewart Gladstone. The two party system had come of age at the time of Gladstone and his Conservative rival Benjamin Disraeli after the 1867 Reform Act.
Although the Founding Fathers of the United States did not originally intend for American politics to be partisan, early political controversies in the 1790s saw the emergence of a two-party political system, the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party, centred on the differing views on federal government powers of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. However, a consensus reached on these issues ended party politics in 1816 for a decade, a period commonly known as the Era of Good Feelings.
Partisan politics revived in 1829 with the split of the Democratic-Republican Party into the Jacksonian Democrats led by Andrew Jackson, and the Whig Party, led by Henry Clay. The former evolved into the modern Democratic Party and the latter was replaced with the Republican Party as one of the two main parties in the 1850s.
Malta's next legislature will feature an elected third party representative for the first time in more than 50 years, with Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia having made it into parliament.
The outcome also suggests that Spain, which has many small parties, is moving toward a greater two-party system – even as basic splits between right and left are deepening and becoming more contentious.
the standoff between the Federalists and their opponents, which led to the modern two-party system
Forty-eight states have the standard "winner-takes-all" electoral system: whichever presidential ticket amasses the most popular votes in a state wins all the electors of that state.
The Pirate Party ... wants to legalise internet file-sharing and protect people's privacy on the net ... There *IS* a UK Pirate Party ... and there's a US ... one, and one in a few dozen others."
In the nineteenth century, third parties were single-issue creatures that grew up around great causes that the major parties were ignoring. Abolition, women’s suffrage, and the direct election of senators all started as third-party movements.
Certainly, there have been a whole lot of hung parliaments and slow-forming coalitions around the world lately. (Canada, Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, Iraq...)
Italy's next parliament will have far fewer parties than the previous assembly, pushing the country closer to the two-party system that many commentators say is the only way to end years of political instability. ...
Some argue that the winner-take-all mechanism in 48 states discourages independent or third party candidates from running because it would be difficult for them to get many electoral votes.
And, as a result, more parties are represented in their parliament after the elections. The Italian Parliament, for instance, recently had more than 70 parties represented. ... These deals are cut with the smaller parties by offering them the chance to fill high government offices...
...only about eight percent of Americans feel confident in our partisan Congress ... 47 percent of Americans ... identify as independents. ...
... since both parties are cut from the same cloth of corruption and corporate influence, the American populace is left in a “crisis of creativity,” ...
General elections were held in Pakistan on 10 October 2002 to elect the National Assembly of Pakistan and the provincial assemblies. The elections were held under the watchful scrutiny of the military government of General Pervez Musharraf. This elections featured the multiparty democracy as it brought an end to the two-party system between the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League (N). A right of center Pakistan Muslim League (Q) emerged in the mainstream political spectrum of Pakistan, that supported liberal President Musharraf.
Around 70 parties took participation in the elections, however, only six parties managed to bag sufficient popular vote namely PML-Q, PPP, MMA, PML-N, MQM and National Alliance.Bipartisanship
Bipartisanship, sometimes referred to as nonpartisanship, is a political situation, usually in the context of a two-party system (especially those of the United States and some other western countries), in which opposing political parties find common ground through compromise. This is in contrast to partisanship, where an individual or political party only adheres to their interests without compromise. It has been debated among political theorists however that in practice, each party advances their own political agenda at the expense of the other party because of the conflicting ideologies.Duverger's law
In political science, Duverger's law holds that plurality-rule elections (such as first past the post) structured within single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system, whereas "the double ballot majority system and proportional representation tend to favor multipartism". The discovery of this tendency is attributed to Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist who observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s. In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a "law" or principle.
Duverger's law draws from a model of causality from electoral system to a party system. A proportional representation (PR) system creates electoral conditions that foster development of many parties, whereas a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, generally resulting in a two-party system.
In practice, most countries with plurality voting have more than two parties. While the United States is very much a two-party system, the United Kingdom, Canada and India have consistently had multiparty parliaments. Eric Dickson and Ken Scheve argue that there is a counter force to Duverger's law, that on the national level a plurality system encourages two parties, but in the individual constituencies supermajorities will lead to the vote fracturing. Steven R. Reed has shown Duverger's law to work in Japan and Italy; the "extension of Duverger's law into Japanese case", as Gary W. Cox notes, resulting in Reed's identification of the M + 1 equilibrium.Elections in Cape Verde
Cape Verde elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly (Portuguese: Assembleia Nacional) has 72 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation. Cape Verde has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.Elections in France
France is a representative democracy. Public officials in the legislative and executive branches are either elected by the citizens (directly or indirectly) or appointed by elected officials. Referendums may also be called to consult the French citizenry directly on a particular question, especially one which concerns amendment to the Constitution.
France elects on its national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature.
The president is elected for a five-year term (previously, seven years), directly by the citizens.
The Parliament (Parlement) has two chambers.
The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 577 members, elected for a five-year term in single seat-constituencies directly by the citizens.
The Senate (Sénat) has 348 members, elected for six-year terms. 328 members are elected by an electoral college consisting of elected representatives from each of 96 departments in metropolitan France, 8 of which are elected from other dependencies, and 12 of which are elected by the French Assembly of French Citizens Abroad (Assemblée des Français de l'étranger) which has replaced the High Council of French Citizens Abroad (Conseil Supérieur des Français de l'Étranger) a 155-member assembly elected by citizens living abroad.In addition, French citizens elect a variety of local governments. There also are public elections for some non-political positions, such as those for the judges of courts administering labour law (conseils de prud'hommes), elected by workers and employers, or those for judges administering cases of rural land leases.
France does not have a fully-fledged two-party system; that is, a system where, though many political parties may exist, only two parties are relevant to the dynamics of power. However French politics has ordinarily displayed some tendencies characterizing a two-party system in which power alternates between relatively stable coalitions, each being led by a major party: on the left, the Socialist Party, on the right, Les Républicains and its predecessors. This pattern was upset in 2017, when neither of those parties' candidates reached the second round of the presidential election and the newly-formed party En Marche! gained both the presidency and a comfortable majority in the National Assembly.
Elections are conducted according to rules set down in the Constitution of France, organisational laws (lois organiques), and the electoral code. Voting is not compulsory.
Elections are held on Sundays.
The campaigns end at midnight the Friday before the election; then, on election Sunday, by law, no polls can be published, no electoral publication and broadcasts can be made. The voting stations open at 8 am and close at 6 pm in small towns or at 8 pm in cities, depending on prefectoral decisions. By law, publication of results or estimates is prohibited prior to that time; such results are however often available from the media of e.g. Belgium and Switzerland, or from foreign Internet sites, prior to that time. The first estimate of the results are thus known at Sunday, 8pm, Paris time; one consequence is that voters in e.g. French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe knew the probable results of elections before polling booths close. It has been alleged that this discourages voting in these places. For this reason, since the 2000s, elections in French possessions in the Americas, as well as embassies and consulates there, are held on Saturdays as a special exemption.
The next election will take place in 2022. Current President Emmanuel Macron is eligible for re-election in that year.Elections in Ghana
Elections in Ghana gives information on election and election results in Ghana.
Ghana elects on national level a head of state, the president, and a legislature. The president is elected for a four-year term by the people. The Parliament of Ghana has 275 members, elected for a four-year term in single-seat constituencies.
The presidential election is won by having more than 50% of valid votes cast, whilst the parliamentary elections is won by simple majority, and, as is predicted by Duverger's law, the voting system has encouraged Ghanaian politics into a two-party system, creating extreme difficulty for anybody attempting to achieve electoral success under any banner other than those of the two dominant parties. Elections have been held every four years since 1992. Presidential and parliamentary elections are held alongside each other, generally on 7 December.Elections in Seychelles
Seychelles elects on national level a head of state—the president—and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly/Assemblée Nationale has 34 members elected for terms of five years, 25 members elected in single-seat constituencies and 9 members elected by proportional representation. Seychelles has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.List of political parties in Australia
This article lists political parties in Australia.
The Australian federal parliament has a number of distinctive features including compulsory voting, with full-preference instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the Australian House of Representatives, and the use of the single transferable vote to elect the upper house, the Australian Senate.
Australia has a mild two-party system, with two dominant political groupings in the Australian political system, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal/National Coalition. Federally, 6 of the 150 members of the lower house (Members of Parliament, or MPs) are not members of major parties, as are 19 of the 76 members of the upper house (senators).
Other parties tend to perform better in the upper houses of the various federal and state parliament since these typically use a form of proportional representation.List of political parties in Costa Rica
This article lists political parties in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica used to have a two-party system, which meant that there were two dominant political parties, the Social Christian Unity Party and the National Liberation Party, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party. After the 2002 elections and the strong showing of the brand-new Citizens' Action Party, it was considered very likely that the old two-party system was on the verge of giving way to a multi-party system. Several other parties have gained prominence since then, and the 2006 elections made it clear that Costa Rica is now a multi-party system.
Starting in the 2000s, disagreement about many of the neo-liberal policies promoted by the dominant PLN caused the traditional party system of alliances among a few parties to fracture. Although still a stable country, the shift toward many political parties and away from PUSC and PLN is a recent development. Various elected positions within the country, such as mayors and city council members, are held by many different national and local political parties.List of political parties in Guyana
This article lists political parties in Guyana.
Guyana has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties. The main schism is not of ideology, but ethnicity; the People's Progressive Party is supported primarily by Indo-Guyanese people, while the People's National Congress is supported primarily by Afro-Guyanese people.List of political parties in Honduras
Honduras traditionally had a two-party system, dominated by the Liberal Party of Honduras and the National Party of Honduras.List of political parties in Jamaica
Jamaica has a two-party system, the major parties being the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party. A large number of minor parties have cropped up and disintegrated in the past, with very few (if any) winning seats in Parliament. Over 46 political parties have been formed since independence in August 1962.List of political parties in Liechtenstein
This article lists political parties in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein has a two-party system where the two largest political parties—the Patriotic Union (VU) and the Progressive Citizens' Party (FBP)— dominate politics within the Landtag of Liechtenstein, frequently in coalition. There are currently two minor parties represented in the Landtag which form the opposition: The Independents (DU), and the Free List (FL).List of political parties in Malta
This article lists political parties in Malta.
Since World War II, Maltese political culture has developed into a two-party system dominated by the centre-left Labour Party (Maltese: Partit Laburista) and the centre-right Nationalist Party (Maltese: Partit Nazzjonalista). Although other political parties have presented candidates and, in some cases, elected MPs, in most cases these were splinter groups of the main parties and, on the rare occasions when they were successful, this success was short-lived.Louisiana State Senate
The Louisiana State Senate (French: Sénat de Louisiane) is the upper house of the state legislature of Louisiana. All senators serve four-year terms and are assigned multiple committees to work on. The current Senate President John Alario from Westwego.Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national election, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coalition. Apart from one-party-dominant and two-party systems, multi-party systems tend to be more common in parliamentary systems than presidential systems and far more common in countries that use proportional representation compared to countries that use first-past-the-post elections.
First-past-the-post requires concentrated areas of support for large representation in the legislature whereas proportional representation better reflects the range of a population's views. Proportional systems may have multi-member districts with more than one representative elected from a given district to the same legislative body, and thus a greater number of viable parties. Duverger's law states that the number of viable political parties is one, plus the number of seats available in the given district.
Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia and Ukraine are examples of nations that have used a multi-party system effectively in their democracies. In these countries, usually no single party has a parliamentary majority by itself. Instead, multiple political parties are compelled to form compromised coalitions for the purpose of developing power blocks and attaining legitimate mandate.Political parties in the United States
Political parties in the United States are mostly dominated by a two-party system consisting of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The United States Constitution has always been silent on the issue of political parties, since at the time it was signed in 1787 there were no parties in the nation.Political party
A political party is an organized group of people, with broadly common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.
While there is some international commonality in the way political parties are recognized and in how they operate, there are often many differences, and some are significant. Many political parties have an ideological core, but some do not, and many represent ideologies very different from their ideology at the time the party was founded. Many countries, such as Germany and India, have several significant political parties, and some nations have one-party systems, such as China and Cuba. The United States is in practice a two-party system but with many smaller parties also participating and a high degree of autonomy for individual candidates.Politics of Australia
The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australians elect parliamentarians to the federal Parliament of Australia, a bicameral body which incorporates elements of the fused executive inherited from the Westminster system, and a strong federalist senate, adopted from the United States Congress. Australia largely operates as a two-party system in which voting is compulsory. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Australia as a "full democracy" in 2018.