Single Party and Multi-Party Systems


Numerous nations across the world have a one-party system, for example, the Soviet Union, China, Bulgaria, Rumania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Finland. Here, the formation of other parties is banned and being Communist countries there is only one Communist Party. However, there are several types of party systems existing globally, all equally important in their ways.


Single-Party Systems

A one-party system or a one-party, by description, refers to a political structure where one or a single political party forms and runs the government. This can occur in one of two ways. First, the activities of the opposition may be completely outlawed, such that even the opposition leaders are not allowed to participate in elections. Second, the possibilities of the opposition to clinch power are thwarted by the unfavourable constitutional frame that is in place.


Merits of a One-Party System

  • It helps in the establishment of a solid administration which further aids in the progress of the country. The advancement of the Soviet Union is a glaring example in this regard.

  • In this system, the establishment and execution of long-term preparation are possible.

  • The country delivers remarkable economic progress as the Government settles conflicts. The administration becomes effective because all the power is concentrated in the hands of one leader, dismissing favouritism, nepotism, and black-marketing altogether.

  • There is unity and discipline in the country.

Time is not lost in needless criticism and propaganda.

Demerits of a One-Party System

  • Democracy is disintegrated and dictatorship arises. There is no regard for the views of different classes and interests.

  • The Government becomes absolute and the administration becomes irresponsible.

  • The development of the personality is hindered because social freedom is crushed.

  • Since there is only one party in this system, there is no freedom of expression.


Could India become a one-party state?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday articulated about the failure of the multi-party parliamentary democratic system while referring to the years before 2014. He emphasised on the necessity for 130 crore Indians to move in a coordinated fashion to recognise Narendra Modi’s vision. The oblique reference at a single-party democracy appeared promptly after Shah proposed Hindi as the best-suited language to strengthen India. Articulating on the matter of “New India, Great India” at a convention organized by the All India Management Association, Shah further portrayed a grim picture of the country during the 10 years of the UPA rule, resulting in people questioning the efficacy of the multiparty system in the country. The founding fathers had envisioned a multiparty parliamentary democratic system to create a welfare state and give every citizen a voice.


“But after nearly 70 years of independence, there was a question in the minds of the people whether the vision of the founding fathers had been realized? Whether the multiparty system had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the citizens of the country? ”. People were disappointed with the performance of the previous governments.


Multi-Party System

If several parties compete for power and more than two parties have a reasonable chance of coming into power either based on their strength or in alliance with others, we call it a multi-party system.


Merits of a Multi-Party System

  • A multi-party system allows citizens to have as many choices as possible. As such, those in support of the system say it is democratic.

  • Multi-party systems tend to encourage a peaceful change of governments. The existence of multiple parties implies that other parties are waiting for their turn to be voted into power, discouraging crude means of gaining political power.

  • Since numerous parties are formed in a multi-party system, minority groups among the electorate are able to be represented. This further allows for increased political participation by the masses.

  • Multi-Party Systems allow open and constructive criticism of policies of the ruling government. This prevents leaders of the ruling party from becoming despotic or tyrannical. The advantage of the operation of a multi-party system is that it allows opposition parties to exist. When there is opposition, it encourages optimal results.


Demerits of a Multi-Party System

  • In many cases, no one party can gain power. Therefore, it leads to difficulty in the formation of a government. Some parties might have to come together before a government can be formed and these coalition governments can be weak and unstable.

  • It can be costly to operate since all the parties vying for political power must convince the people to vote for them. They organize rallies, advertise in the media, and so on to carry out their campaigns and reach voters.

  • Electorates can become bombarded with countless choices, to the point where they get disconcerted.

  • Another limitation of a multi-party system is that it can lead to divisions in the nation. This is especially so in Africa where parties could be formed along tribal, religious, or ethnic lines.

  • When various parties are vying for the ultimate goal of ruling the country, it can degenerate into an unhealthy rivalry amongst them. This could eventually stifle development and progress.

Is the Multi-Party System Good or Bad for India?

The multi-party system has always led to complete disorder in India. Considering every party wants to come to power, they try to increase their foothold at each decision-making event. The opposition constantly tends to oppose whatever decision the ruling party executes, whether good or bad, just to have an advantage in the forthcoming elections. The multi-party system can be beneficial for countries where development parameters are already quite high. However, in India, we cannot bear to have this. If development has to occur, infrastructure has to be constructed. This in turn would need all sorts of decisions to be executed, which would additionally require specific people to succumb - such as in the case of and acquisitions for building roads.


This is where the predicament rests. The opposition will align with specific people and hinder the development pace, making it impracticable to hear every voice.


Bi-Party System or a Two-Party System

A two-party system is a system in which two major political parties dominate polling in nearly every election, at every level of government and the preponderance of elected offices are members of one of the two major parties. Moreover, under a two-party system, one party typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority party while the other is the minority party. The United States is an example of a two-party system in which the majority of elected officials are either Democrats or Republicans.


Merits of a Two-Party System

  • It gives political stability to the country.

  • Two-party systems have been preferred over multi-party systems because they are not difficult to govern. This kind of system also discourages radical minor parties.

  • It is easier for voters to vote in the elections as they need to choose between only two political parties.

  • The two-party system can speed up the process of governing.


Demerits of a Two-party system

  • The two-party systems offer limited options to voters as they have to choose from merely two political parties.

  • It ignores alternative voices. The two-party systems do not effectively tackle the issues faced by minorities or other sections of society.

  • A two-party system creates inconsistent governing.

  • When one party loses power in a two-party system, their policies are often reversed since the other party usually takes an opposite stand.


In conclusion, according to me, a multi-party system operates better than a single-party system. After presenting wide and good projection simultaneous elections, it is solely in the hands of the government and we the people to determine whether it is a feasible approach for us or not because one way or another we will be affected by it. We should criticize the policies of the government and at the same time, reflect and invent better policies for ourselves. The answer to the question “Who is the government?” is “We the people”. So, in the end, we are the kings and queens, we are the sovereign and we are the government so the decisions lay with us and our representatives.


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