Types of Political Party Systems

Types of Political Parties Systems. Party systems may be broken down into three broad categories, two-party, multiparty, and single-party. Such a classification is based not merely on the number of parties operating within a particular country but on various distinctive features that the three systems exhibit.

Bi-Party System:-

A By-party system does not mean that a country has only two parties, and there is no third party. It means there are only two major parties and the rest of the parties are less important. For example, there are more than two parties in England, viz. Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Party, Fascist and Communist Party. But in politics, only two parties are essential, i.e., the Conservative and the Labour Party. Sometimes the Conservative Party and, at other times, the Labour Party forms the Government. The Communist and the Fascist Party have obtained no seat. In the House of Commons, the Liberal Party has only a few seats.

Similarly, though many parties like the Communist Party, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party, only Republican and Democratic Parties are essential and form the Government. The Communist Party has no importance in politics. Thus, there is a bi-party system in Great Britain and the U.S.A. Where there is a multiparty system, there are more than two essential parties in politics. This system prevails. France, West Germany, Italy, and certain other countries of Europe.

Merits of Bi-Party System:-

The following are the merits of the bi-party system:

(1) Government becomes more stable.

The Government is more stable in a bi-party system because the party with a majority in the legislature forms the Government and the other party acts as Opposition. Coalition Governments are not formed in a bi-party system. If the ruling party loses the majority in the legislature, the Cabinet tenders its resignation. In such an eventuality, the opposition party forms the Government. It becomes the ruling party, and the party hitherto for the ruling party becomes the opposition party.

(2) Direct Election of the Government.

In the second system, the Government is elected by the people directly because the voters know the party in whose favor they are casting their votes. Thus, the people vote for the party whom they wish to form a Government. For example, if the people in England want a progressive Government, they cast their votes in favor of the Labour Party. If they like the Conservative Government, they cast their votes in favor of the Conservative Party.

(3) Formation of Government is easier.

In this system, it becomes easy for the Head of the State to decide which party should be invited to form the Government. The Head of the State (President, King, or Governor-General) invites the majority party leader to form the Government. In this way, the majority party forms the Government. If the majority party loses the majority support in the legislature, the Head of the State invites the opposition party to form the Government.

(4) It ensures a strong Government and continuity of policy.

Because of the stability of the Government in a bi-party system, it is strong and can continuously pursue a good policy. In contrast to this, the cabinets change every often in a multiparty system. The Government becomes weak, and there is no continuity in the policy. In a bi-party system, the Government is stable, and it can formulate long-term plans for the welfare of the people. It can also ensure its goodwill to forieg0 countries.

(5) Responsibility for the failure and shortcomings of the Government can be easily located in their system.

In a bi-party system, the Government is in the hands of one party, and if it functions well, it can be given credit. But if it fails to perform its duties effectively, it will earn bad same. In this system of Government, it is easy to fix the responsibility, and the ruling party cannot shift its responsibility to others, which usually happens in a multiparty system.

(6) Conservative Criticism.

In this system, the opposition party indulges in constructive criticism of the Government because it is well-known to the opposition party that in case of the failure of the Government, it will have to take the responsibility of the Government. In such an eventuality, it will have to remove all those defects for which it had criticized the ruling party.

(7) Commanding Position of the Prime Minister.

In a bi-party system, the position of the Prime Minister is significant because he has t work with the cooperation of the other parties, as is done in a multiparty system. In a bi-party system, the Prime Minister enjoys the confidence of his party. If the Prime Minister has sufficient influence on his party and has a sufficient majority in the legislature, he will have no difficulty running the Government.

Laski has very aptly said,

It is the only method by which the people can at the electoral period directly choose the Government. It enables the government to derive its policy from the statute book. It makes known and intelligible, the results of its failure. It brings an alternate Government into immediate being.

Disadvantages of Bi-party System:-

(1) Dictatorship of the Cabinet.

In a bi-party system, the dictatorship of the Cabinet is established as in the case in England because it has the majority support in the Parliament. In such a situation, the ruling party does not care much for the Opposition.

(2) Limited choice before the voters.

When there are only two parties before the electorate, they have to select one out of the two, even if they do not like both parties. In this way, the electorate loses its freedom of choice. In case there are more than two parties, the choice for the voters becomes wide.

(3) The Prestige of the legislature is lowered.

In a bi-party system, the majority party supports the Cabinet. The Prime Minister has a remarkable influence ever the Parliament because he is the leader of the House under his position as the leader of the majority party. With the help of his majority party, he can get the Bills, budget, policies, and treaties passed in the way he likes. In case he is not supported by the Parliament, he can recommend to the Head of the State to dissolve the Lower House. Therefore, the Parliament is a sort of puppet in the hands of the Prime Minister.

(4) Dictatorship of the Majority Party.

In this system, the dictatorship of the majority party is established, and it cares little for the Opposition because it enjoys a majority in the Parliament.

(5) It divides the nation into two irreconcilable camps.

When there are only two parties in a country, there is a significant difference in their ideologies, and there is great controversy over the basic policies in the country.

(6) All shades of opinion are not represented in the legislature.

Where there are only two parties, the voters have no freedom to express their views. Where there are many parties, the voters cast their votes to the parties of their choice. In this way, all shades of opinion are given representation.

Multiple Party System:-

There are more than two political parties. There is a multiple-party system, as in India, France, Italy, and West Germany.

Advantages of merits of multiple party system.

The following are the merits o¢ advantages of this system: –

The nation is not divided into two camps.

Where there is multiple party system, there are many types of ideologies, and there is no rigid discipline among the parties. If a member leaves one party or is turned out of the party, he can join another party that has views almost similar to his views. In this way, because of the freedom of view, the nation is not divided into two rival groups.

(2) Parliament does not become a puppet in the hands of the Cabinet.

In a multiple-party system, a one-party government is not formed, but several parties form a coalition Government, and it has to depend upon the goodwill of the Parliament. Therefore, the Cabinet cannot get the work done at will by the Parliament by establishing its dictatorship.

(3) All shares of opinion are reflected in the House.

In a multiple-party system, there is freedom of view. Because of this freedom, all shades of opinion get representation in the Parliament, and views of all the classes are heard in the House.

(4) Wider choice before the electorate.

Where there are many parties, there is a broader choice before the electorate because they cast their votes in favor of only the like-minded parties.

(5) Init the chances of Cabinet dictatorship are minimized.

In a multiple-party system, Coalition Governments are formed since a one-party Government is not formed, the parties in the coalition work by adopting compromise.

(6) The workers are more accessible in this system.

If his party does not care for him, they can join a like-minded party.

Demerits of Multiple Party System:-

Following are the demerits of the multiple party system:

(1) Weak Government. The Coalition Governments are weak, and they are dissolved soon.

(2) Indefiniteness of Policy. Because of the rapid change of the Governments, there is the indefiniteness of the policy.

(3) No long-term planning. Due to rapid changes in the Governments, long-term planning is not possible.

(4) Weak position of the Prime Minister. In this system, the position of the Prime Minister is weak because the Government is formed not by one party but many parties from the Coalition Government. Therefore, all the parties in the Government are to be appeased. Since the policies and programs of these parties are different, the Prime Minister has to face great difficulty in satisfying them and keep them with him. If some party refuses to support the Prime Minister, the Government’s fall becomes inevitable, and the parties who enjoy a majority m the legislature try to form the Cabinet.

(5) Lack of administrative efficiency. In a multiple-party system, there is § jack of administrative efficiency because the Governments change very often.

(6) In this system, trading in votes and the formation of Government undermine political morality.

One-party System:-

There are many countries in the world with a one-party system. The formation of other parties is banned there—Far example. Soviet Union, China, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Finland are Communist countries, and there is only one Communist Party. The Communists believe that the Opposition is needed only in capitalist countries because of the existence of diverse interests there. To represent those diverse interests, different parties are formed and or But in the countries where capitalism has been abolished. Where only labor class exists, there is no need for different parties, and only the Communist Party is sufficient to look after the interests of the workers.

There was only one party during Hitler’s regime in Germany and Mussolini’s regime in Italy. Hitler’s party was Nazi Party, and Mussolini tamed his party, the Fascist Party. Both Hitler and Mussolini crushed all opposition parties. In Spain and Portugal, too, there was only one party at that time.

Merits of the one-party system:-

(I) It helps establish stable administration, which further helps in the country’s progress—the progress of the Soviet Union as a glaring example in this regard.

(2) In this system, the formation and execution of long-term planning are possible.

(3) The country achieves remarkable economic progress as the Government ends the conflicts among all the classes, and I devote its entire energy to increasing the country’s production.

(4) The administration becomes efficient because all the powers are concentrated in the hands of one leader, and their favoritism, nepotism, and telemarketing are banished altogether.

(5) There is unity and discipline in the country.

(6) Time is not wasted in unnecessary criticism and propaganda.

Disadvantage or demerits of the one-party system:

(1) Since there is only one party in this system, there is no freedom of expression.

(2) Democracy is eroded, and dictatorship emerges.

(3) There is no regard for the views of different classes and interests.

(4) The Government becomes absolute, and the administration becomes irresponsible.

(5) The development of the personality is hindered because all social freedoms are crushed.

(6) In this system, there is an overbearing influence of terrorism, and the opponents are crushed with a heavy hand

(7) The dictators make enormous military preparations for maintaining their honor and position, and they adopt the policy of war and victory, which is quite harmful to the country.


There are certain advantages and disadvantages in single-party, bi-party, and multiple-party systems. But from the point of view of the functioning of the Government, bi-party system is the best and democracy is protected I in It. The single-party system is not considered good as democracy is destroyed in it. Though the multiple-party system is democratic, yet the Government is not stable in it. Therefore, as compared to the bi-party system, this system is not considered good. No particular system can be fixed for any country, and it depends upon the circumstances of each country as to which party system should be adopted by it.