Single-party systems and two-party systems

Although the term single- party system is controversial (a system implies on having certain relations between different units), it nervertheless aids in differing political systems, where on the one hand, a party enjoys power through politically eliminating its opponents and on the other hand, there is lively competition between several parties. Since monopolistic parties function as constant governments, they nearly always lead to a state apparatus.

Regarding single- party systems, we can distinguish two different types. The first kind of systems can be found in socialistic regimes where the communist parties have taken control of all aspects of society. These parties have a strong ideological discipline and highly structured organizations aligned with principles of democratic centralism. These are cadre parties, mass parties, which means that membership is limited on political and ideological considerations. Nearly 5% of the Chinese population are members of the CKP and nearly 9% of the population of the Soviet Union belonged to the Communist Party. In this manner, the core of the party consists of highly paid government officials who review the state apparatus and social establishments. The central tool to control society and government is the nomenclature system, which implies on filling relevant positions with candidates approved by the party.

The second kind of single- party systems link to anti-colonialist nationalism and consolidation of the government in the developing countries. The parties exercising governance in Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have developed from independence movements which proclaimed the inevitable neccessity of economic growth and state building. In Zimbabwe, the single- party system developed only six years after gaining independence through the joining of the two main parties. Single- party systems in Africa and Asia are generaly founded on the basis of a charismatic leader, thus also creating the corresponding ideological identity. Such parties are generally poorly organized and managed.

Speaking of two- party systems, we can distinguish two main parties that mainly have an equal opportunity to win elections. Two- party systems are classically ascertained through three criterias: although smaller parties might exist, only two posess the neccessary power in order to have a realistic chance to win the elections; the larger party is able to exercise power on its own, the second party forms an opposition; power alternates between the two, both are eligible to be elected and the opposition works as the walls of the government.

USA and the UK are the most common examples of two- party systems. Arhetypal models of two- party systems are rare. Even in the UK, which is held as the standard model of two- party systems, the three aforementioned criterias have been fulfilled only during certain periods of time. In addition, the two- partyism between the Labor Party and the Conservative Party during the post-WW2 period was marked with a 13-year rule by the Conservative Party, which as a result undermined the electability of the Labor Party. One might say, that in the UK, the two- party system has not existed since 1974 when the joint support of the two parties fell below 75%.

Even the seemingly irrefutable US two- partyism between the democrats and republicans can be questioned. On the one hand, the presidential system allows one party to hold the White House while the other posesses power in the Congress, which means that the government and the opposition might be difficult to distinguish. On the other hand, candidates of a third party can have a remarkable substantiality as Ross Perot showed in 1992.

The main advantage of the two- party system is ensuring stability, responsibility and making decisions. Rivalry, regarding two- partyism, offers the voters the possibility of choosing between two different manifestos and alternative governments. The voters are certain, that in the event of their favored party winning, it has the competence to fulfill its maifesto without the need to make compromises in a coalition treaty.

As a disadvantage, it is noted that in the urge of gaining favoring from the voters, parties exceed one anothers statements and as a result, a party might come in power with a manifesto which is unachievable due to the shortage of neccesary resources. The absence of freedom of choice and different ideologies are also seen as downsides of the two- party system. In the given time of individual and social differences, only two options are not sufficient.

 

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