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Dominant-party system

From Academic Kids

A dominant-party system, or one party dominant system, is a party system where only one political party can realistically become the government, by itself or in a coalition government. While opposition parties are legally allowed to operate, they are considered too weak or ineffective to seriously take power. This is in contrast to single-party systems, which tend to be authoritarian, dominant-party systems can occur within a context of a democratic system. Dominant-party systems have been criticized because corruption and insensitivity to public demands tend to arise for lack of an effective opposition.

A further distinction from a single-party system is that under the latter, other parties cannot compete to become the government because they are banned. Dominant-party systems exist only in states where other political parties are tolerated, but do not receive enough votes to have a realistic chance of winning. However, in some dominant-party systems, opposition parties are subject to varying degrees of official harassment and most often deal with rules and electoral systems designed to put them at a disadvantage or in some cases outright electoral fraud.

Examples of dominant-party systems include the National Democratic Party in Egypt, the PRI in Mexico from the 1920s until 2000, the PAP in Singapore, the Democratic Party in the southern United States from about 1880 until the 1960s, and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan from the 1950s until the present.

Dominant-party systems can occur temporarily. This can often occur when a two-party system is the norm, but one of the two parties sees a massive drop in support, often due to scandal or similar massive upset. An example of this is, arguably, the United Kingdom between 1979 and 1997 (18 years) where the Conservative party won all four elections in that period. Previously, in the post-war period, the government had rotated from Labour Party to Conservative Party five times.

Contemporary Canada would also qualify as a dominant-party system, with the Liberal Party being quite dominant since 1896 ruling almost three quarters of the time in that period, and continuously since 1993. In the party's history, Edward Blake is the only leader of the Liberal Party ever to not have been Prime Minister of Canada at some time. For some of the period, including today, the Liberals have ruled in a minority government.

Though the United States as a whole is characterized by a competitive two-party system, some individual states may qualify as a dominant-party system.

Contents

Current dominant-party systems

The following countries are claimed by many to be dominant-party systems:

Africa

Angola

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Cameroon

Chad

Congo-Brazzaville

Djibouti

  • Popular Rally for Progress
  • Rassemblement populaire pour le Progrès (RPP)
  • Led by President Ismail Omar Guelleh, in office since 8 May 1999
  • In power since its formation in 1979
  • Sole legal party, 1979-1992
  • Presidential election, 2005: Ismail Omar Guelleh (RPP) re-elected unopposed
  • Parliamentary election, 2003: RPP in coalition, 62.7% and 65 of 65 seats

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Ethiopia

Gabon

  • Gabonese Democratic Party
  • Parti démocratique gabonais (PDG)
  • Led by President Omar Bongo, in office since 28 November 1967
  • In power, under various names, since independence, 17 August 1960
  • Sole legal party, 1968-1991
  • Presidential election, 1998: Omar Bongo (PDG) 66.9%
  • Parliamentary election, 2001: PDG 88 of 120 seats

The Gambia

Guinea

  • Party of Unity and Progress
  • Parti de l'Unité et du Progrès (PUP)
  • Led by President Lansana Conté, in office since 3 April 1984
  • In power since its formation in 1991
  • Presidential election, 2003: Lansana Conté (PUP) 95.6%
  • Parliamentary election, 2002: PUP 61.6% and 47 of 76 seats

Mauritania

Mozambique

  • Mozambican Liberation Front
  • Frente da Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO)
  • Led by President Armando Guebuza, in office since 2 February 2005
  • In power since independence, 25 June 1975
  • Sole legal party, 1975-1990
  • Presidential election, 2004: Armando Guebuza (FRELIMO) 63.7%
  • Parliamentary election, 2004: FRELIMO 62.0% and 160 of 250 seats

Namibia

Nigeria

Rwanda

Seychelles

South Africa

Sudan

Tanzania

  • Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)
  • Led by President Benjamin William Mkapa, in office since 23 November 1995
  • In power, under various names, since independence, 9 December 1961
  • Sole legal party, 1975-1992 (unofficially from independence in 1961)
  • Presidential election, 2000: Benjamin William Mkapa (CCM) 71.7%
  • Parliamentary election, 2000: CCM 244 of 269 seats

Togo

Tunisia

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Americas

Canada

El Salvador

Paraguay

Asia

  • East Timor
    • Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor or FRETILIN
    • Led by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, in office since May 20 2002
    • In power since 2002
    • Parliamentary election, 2001: FRETILIN 57.37% and 55 out of 88 seats

Europe

See also

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