Major party

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A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Major party: a political party having electoral strength sufficient to permit it to win control of a government usually with comparative regularity and when defeated to constitute the principal opposition to the party in power.

— Merriam-Webster Dictionary online[1]

Major parties hold a significant percentage of the vote in elections and claim higher membership than minor parties. Typically, major parties have the most donors, best-organized support networks and excellent funding for elections. Their candidates for political positions are closely watched since they have the highest chance of being elected to office because of the high membership, recognition and donations that these parties are able to generate.

Two major parties can lead to a two-party system. If there is only one major party, then it is a dominant-party system. In a multi-party system, a major party is one that occasionally controls the presidency or premiership and is the most influential party in a coalition government.

List of major parties[edit]

Country Centre-left/Left-wing
major party
Centre-right/Right-wing
major party
Other major party Notes
Albania Socialist Party of Albania Democratic Party of Albania
Algeria National Liberation Front National Rally for Democracy
Andorra Social Democratic Party Democrats for Andorra
Australia Australian Labor Party Liberal Party of Australia Federally (and in New South Wales) the Liberal Party of Australia is in coalition with the Nationals.
Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria Austrian People's Party Freedom Party of Austria
Bangladesh Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Nationalist Party Jatiya Party
Barbados Barbados Labour Party Democratic Labour Party
Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Cape Verde PAICV Movement for Democracy
Canada New Democratic Party Conservative Party of Canada Liberal Party of Canada The Liberal party was a major federal party until 2011, when it won the fewest seats in its history.
Costa Rica Citizens' Action Party (PAC) National Liberation Party (PLN) Broad Front PLN defines itself as "centrist" but is generally considered to be more right-wing than PAC.
Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia Croatian Democratic Union
Denmark Social Democrats Venstre Danish People's Party The Danish People's Party is third largest, and is currently polling just behind the Social Democrats as second largest party.
El Salvador FMLN ARENA Unity Movement
European Union Party of European Socialists European People's Party Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
France Socialist Party Union for a Popular Movement
Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany Christian Democratic Union
Greece SYRIZA New Democracy Until the 2012 legislative election, Pasok was the major party of the centre-left.
Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
Iceland Social Democratic Alliance Independence Party Progressive Party
India Indian National Congress Bharatiya Janata Party All Inida Anna Dravida Munnetra Khazgam
Indonesia Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle Golkar Party
Ireland Labour Party Fine Gael Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil received the largest share of the vote in Ireland from 1932 to 2011, when it was returned in third place with just 17.4% of the vote.
Israel Israeli Labor Party Likud
Italy Democratic Party Forza Italia Five Star Movement Until 1992 the major party was the centrist Christian Democracy, which had been in government for five decades; the second party was the Italian Communist Party.
Japan Democratic Party Liberal Democratic Party New Komeito Party
Jamaica People's National Party Jamaica Labour Party
South Korea Democratic United Party Saenuri Party -
Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party Christian Social People's Party Democratic Party
Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia VMRO-DPMNE
Malta Labour Party Nationalist Party
Mexico Party of the Democratic Revolution National Action Party Institutional Revolutionary Party
Netherlands Labour Party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
New Zealand Labour Party National Party
Norway Labour Party Conservative Party Progress Party
Peru Peru Wins Force 2011
Portugal Socialist Party Social Democratic Party
Republic of China (Taiwan) Democratic Progressive Party Kuomintang
Romania Social Democratic Party National Liberal Party
Singapore Workers' Party of Singapore People's Action Party
Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Christian Democratic Movement
Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party People's Party
Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party Moderate Party
Turkey Republican People's Party Justice and Development Party
United Kingdom Labour Party Conservative Party Liberal Democrats From the 17th through mid-19th century, the Whigs and the Tories were the major parties.
United Kingdom (Scotland) Scottish Labour Party Scottish Nationalist Party Scotland's major parties are similar to the United Kingdom, with the exception of having its own nationalist party.
United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) Sinn Féin Democratic Unionist Party Social Democratic and Labour Party & Ulster Unionist Party Despite being part of the UK, the main parties in Northern Ireland differ from those in Great Britain.
United Kingdom (Wales) Welsh Labour Welsh Conservative Party Plaid Cymru & Welsh Liberal Democrats Wales has similar major parties to that of the United Kingdom, with the exception of having its own nationalist party.
United States Democratic Party Republican Party At various times during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Federalist Party, Democratic-Republican Party, and Whig Party were all major.
United States (Puerto Rico) Alliance Party New Progressive Party Popular Democratic Party Puerto Rico is the only territory within the jurisdiction of USA with different major parties from the rest of the USA.

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