Democratic Politics

Chapter : 2. Political Parties

How Many Parties Should We Have ?

How Many Parties Should We Have ?
(1) One-Party System :
In some countries only one party is allowed to control and run government. These are called one-party system.
In China only the Communist party is allowed to rule. Although, legally speaking, people are free to form political parties, it does not happen because the electoral system does not permit free competition for power. We cannot consider one party system as a good option. Any democratic system must allow at least two parties to compete in elections and provide a fair change for the competing parties to come to power.
(2) Bi-Party System :
In some countries power usually changes between two main parties. Several other parties may exist, contest elections and win a few seats in the national legislatures. But only the two main parties have a serious chance of winning majority of seats to form government. Such a party system is called two-party system. United Kingdom are examples of two-party system.
(3) Multi-Party system :
If several parties compete for power, and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming to power either on their own strength or in alliance with other, we call it a multiparty system. Thus in India, we have multi-party system. In this system, the governments is formed by various parties coming together in a coalition. When several parties in a multiparty system join hands the purpose of contesting elections and winning power, it is called an alliance or a front. For example; in India there were three such major alliance in 2004 parliamentary elections ; the National Democratic Alliance, the United Progressive Alliance and the left Front. The multi-party system often appears very messy and leads to political instability. At the same time, this system allows a variety of interests and opinions to enjoy political representation.
Each country develops a party system that is conditioned by its special circumstances. For example, if India has evolved a multi-party system it is because the social and geographical diversity in such a large country is not easily absorbed by two or even three parties. No system is ideal for all countries and all situations.

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