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A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system, is a system where there is "a category of parties/political organisations that have successively won election victories and whose future defeat cannot be envisaged or is unlikely for the foreseeable future." Usually, the dominant party consistently holds majority government, without the need for coalitions.
Examples include United Russia (ЕP) in Russia, the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) in Canada, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) in Serbia, Fidesz in Hungary, the People's Action Party (PAP) in Singapore, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, Awami League in Bangladesh and MPLA in Angola.
- 1 Theory
- 2 Current dominant-party systems
- 3 Formerly dominant parties
- 4 Note
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Critics of the "dominant party" theory argue that it views the meaning of democracy as given, and that it assumes that only a particular conception of representative democracy (in which different parties alternate frequently in power) is valid. Raymond Suttner argues that "the dominant party 'system' is deeply flawed as a mode of analysis and lacks explanatory capacity. But it is also a very conservative approach to politics. Its fundamental political assumptions are restricted to one form of democracy, electoral politics and hostile to popular politics. This is manifest in the obsession with the quality of electoral opposition and its sidelining or ignoring of popular political activity organised in other ways. The assumption in this approach is that other forms of organisation and opposition are of limited importance or a separate matter from the consolidation of their version of democracy."
One of the dangers of dominant parties is "the tendency of dominant parties to conflate party and state and to appoint party officials to senior positions irrespective of their having the required qualities." However, in some countries this is common practice even when there is no dominant party. In contrast to one-party systems, dominant-party systems can occur within a context of a democratic system. In a one-party system other parties are banned, but in dominant-party systems other political parties are tolerated, and (in democratic dominant-party systems) operate without overt legal impediment, but do not have a realistic chance of winning; the dominant party genuinely wins the votes of the vast majority of voters every time (or, in authoritarian systems, claims to). Under authoritarian dominant-party systems, which may be referred to as "electoralism" or "soft authoritarianism", opposition parties are legally allowed to operate, but are too weak or ineffective to seriously challenge power, perhaps through various forms of corruption, constitutional quirks that intentionally undermine the ability for an effective opposition to thrive, institutional and/or organizational conventions that support the status quo, occasional but not omnipresent political repression, or inherent cultural values averse to change.
In some states opposition parties are subject to varying degrees of official harassment and most often deal with restrictions on free speech (such as press laws), lawsuits against the opposition, and rules or electoral systems (such as gerrymandering of electoral districts) designed to put them at a disadvantage. In some cases outright electoral fraud keeps the opposition from power. On the other hand, some dominant-party systems occur, at least temporarily, in countries that are widely seen, both by their citizens and outside observers, to be textbook examples of democracy. An example of a genuine democratic dominant-party system would be the pre-Emergency India, which was almost universally viewed by all as being a democratic state, even though the only major national party at that time was the Indian National Congress. The reasons why a dominant-party system may form in such a country are often debated: supporters of the dominant party tend to argue that their party is simply doing a good job in government and the opposition continuously proposes unrealistic or unpopular changes, while supporters of the opposition tend to argue that the electoral system disfavors them (for example because it is based on the principle of first past the post), or that the dominant party receives a disproportionate amount of funding from various sources and is therefore able to mount more persuasive campaigns. In states with ethnic issues, one party may be seen as being the party for an ethnicity or race with the party for the majority ethnic, racial or religious group dominating, e.g., the African National Congress in South Africa (governing since 1994) has strong support amongst Black South Africans and the Ulster Unionist Party governed Northern Ireland from its creation in 1921 until 1972 with the support of the Protestant majority.
Sub-national entities are often dominated by one party due the area's demographic being on one end of the spectrum. For example, the current elected government of the District of Columbia has been governed by Democrats since its creation in the 1970s, Bavaria by the Christian Social Union since 1957, Madeira by the Social Democrats since 1976, and Alberta by Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015. On the other hand, where the dominant party rules nationally on a genuinely democratic basis, the opposition may be strong in one or more subnational areas, possibly even constituting a dominant party locally; an example is South Africa, where although the African National Congress is dominant at the national level, the opposition Democratic Alliance is strong to dominant in the Province of Western Cape.
Current dominant-party systems
This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (July 2010)
- Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA)
- In power since independence, 11 November 1975; sole legal party, 1975–91
- Formerly led by President José Eduardo dos Santos (in office from 10 September 1979 to 28 August 2017) and now led by João Lourenço.
- Presidential election, 1992: dos Santos (MPLA-PT) won 49.6% of the vote. As this was not an absolute majority, a runoff against Jonas Savimbi (40.1%) was required, but did not take place. Dos Santos remained in office without democratic legitimacy.
- New constitution, 2010: popular election of president abolished in favour of a rule that the top candidate of the most voted party in parliamentary elections becomes president.
- Parliamentary election, 2017: MPLA 61.11% and 150 of 220 seats.
- National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD)
- In power since 2005
- Led by President Pierre Nkurunziza, in office since 26 August 2005
- Presidential election, 2015: CNDD-FDD 69.41%
- Cameroon
- Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (Rassemblement Démocratique et Populaire du Cameroun, RDPC)
- Led by President Paul Biya, in office since 6 November 1982
- In power, under various names, since independence, 1 January 1960 (Sole legal party, 1966–1990)
- Presidential election, 2011: Paul Biya (RDPC) 77.99%
- Parliamentary election, 2013: RDPC 148 of 180 seats
- Chad
- Republic of the Congo
- Congolese Party of Labour (Parti Congolais du Travail, PCT)
- Led by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, in office from 8 February 1979 to 31 August 1992 and since 15 October 1997
- In power, under various names, from 1963 to 1992 and since 1997 (Sole legal party, 1963–1990)
- Parliamentary election, 2012: PCT 89 of 139 seats
- Presidential election, 2016: Denis Sassou-Nguesso (PCT) 60.19%
- Djibouti
- People's Rally for Progress (Rassemblement Populaire pour de 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)
- Parliamentary election, 2018: RPP in coalition, 87.83% and 57 of 65 seats
- Presidential election, 2016: Ismail Omar Guelleh (RPP) 87.07%
- Equatorial Guinea
- Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial, PDGE)
- Led by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in office since 3 August 1979
- In power since its formation in 1987 (Sole legal party, 1987–1991)
- Senate election, 2017: PDGE 92.00% 55 of 70 seats (Includes 15 unelected representatives appointed by the president.)
- Chamber of People's Representatives election, 2017: PDGE 92.00% 99 of 100 seats
- Presidential election, 2016: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (PDGE) 93.53%
- Ethiopia
- Gabon
- Gabonese Democratic Party (Parti Démocratique Gabonais, PDG)
- Led by President Ali Bongo Ondimba, in office since 16 October 2009
- In power, under various names, since 28 November 1958 (Sole legal party, 1968–1991)
- Parliamentary election, 2011: PDG 113 of 120 seats (118 of 120 seats including allies)
- Presidential election, 2016: Ali Bongo Ondimba 49.8%
- Mozambique
- Namibia
- South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO)
- Led by President Hage Geingob, in office since 21 March 2015
- In power since independence, 21 March 1990
- Presidential election, 2014: Hage Geingob (SWAPO) 86.73%
- Parliamentary election, 2014: SWAPO 77 of 104 seats
- Local elections, 2015: SWAPO 112 of 121 seats
- Regional elections, 2015: SWAPO 277 of 378 seats
- Rwanda
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
- Led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, in office since 9 July 2011; and was President of Southern Sudan since 30 July 2005
- In power since independence, 9 July 2011; and in the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan since formation, July 9, 2005
- Presidential election, 2010: Salva Kiir Mayardit (SPLM) 92.99%
- Parliamentary election, 2010: SPLM 160 of 170 seats
- Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)
- Led by President John Magufuli, in office since 5 November 2015
- In power, under various names, since independence, 9 December 1961 (Sole legal party, 1964–1992)
- Civic election, 2014: CCM 74.50%
- Presidential election, 2015: John Magufuli (CCM) 58.46%
- Parliamentary election, 2015: CCM 252 of 367 seats
- Togo
- National Resistance Movement (NRM)
- Led by President Yoweri Museveni, in office since 29 January 1986.
- In power as de facto dominant party since 29 January 1986 as a "non-party Movement."
- Became de jure dominant party with the return of multi-party elections on 28 July 2005.
- Presidential election, 2016: Yoweri Museveni (NRM) 60.62%
- Parliamentary election, 2016: NRM 293 of 426 seats
- Western Sahara
- The Polisario Front is the only political party represented in the government in exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (headquartered in neighbouring Algeria)
- Legislative election, 2012: 53 of 53 Seats
- Other parties are permitted in the Sahrawi constitution, but currently none exist
- The United Nations has designated the Polisario Front to be the sole legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people
- Zimbabwe
- Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
- Formerly led by President Robert Mugabe, in office from 18 April 1980 to 21 November 2017 (as president since 31 December 1987) and now led by Emmerson Mnangagwa since 24 November 2017.
- In power since independence, 17 April 1980
- Presidential election, 2018: Emmerson Mnangagwa (ZANU-PF) 50.8%
- House of Assembly election, 2018: ZANU-PF 179 of 270 elective seats
- Senate election, 2018: ZANU-PF 43.8% and won 34 of 80 elective seats
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Presidency since 2007 (and 1979–1990) mayor of every major city, including Managua, majorities in most departments.
- Local elections, 2012: 75,7% and 127 of 153 seats
- General election, 2016: Daniel Ortega 72.5%
- National election, 2016: 66.8%
- Constituency election, 2016: 65.7%
- Central American Parliament, 2016: 68.6%
- United Socialist Party of Venezuela led Great Patriotic Pole
- In power since 1999, led by Hugo Chavez, then Nicolás Maduro
- 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election: won 538 of 545 seats
- 2017 Venezuelan regional elections: 52.7%
- 2017 Venezuelan municipal elections: GPP 71.31% and won 306 of 365 seats
- 2018 Venezuelan presidential election: Nicolás Maduro 67.8%
This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (August 2018)
In federal elections to the House of Commons, a multi-party system exists, although every federal election since the 21st century has seen only two federal parties win enough seats to form a government: the Liberal Party, and the Conservative Party, which governed from 2006-2015.
The Liberal Party is often referred to as the "Natural governing party of Canada", as it has been in power longer than any other party in a developed country - governing Canada for 70 years of the 20th century. The Liberal Party of Canada has dominated much of Canada's political and public policy throughout the 20th century, and, following the 2019 Canadian Federal Election has continued to govern Canada federally since 2015, and previously from 1993-2006 during the 21st century.
Officially, the Senate of Canada is not partisan and members are not officially linked with the Federal Party Caucus.
In some provinces however, one party often holds hegemonic status over all other parties.
- Alberta has voted for the Conservative Party or one of its institutional predecessors (the Progressive Conservative Party, the Reform Party, or the Canadian Alliance) in every single federal election since 1957. The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta also won every single provincial election from 1971 through 2015. The 2015 provincial election saw a win by the New Democratic Party, in part due to vote splitting between the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.
- Saskatchewan has re-elected the Saskatchewan Party to three straight decisive majority mandates. The party currently hold 50 of the 61 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.
As a whole, the nation has a two-party system, with the main parties since the mid-19th century being Democratic Party and the Republican Party. However, some states and cities have been dominated by one of these parties for up to several decades. Generally, the Democratic Party dominate in the urban metropolitan areas, while the Republican Party dominate in the rural areas. Following the 2018 elections, the Republican Party continued to hold a majority of State Legislatures and a majority of Governorships. However the Democratic Party won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, while the Republican Party increased their majority in the Senate, resulting in a split Congress. As a consequence of Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 elections, the Republican Party also controls the Presidency.
Dominated by the Democratic Party:
- California had a Republican governor as late as 2011 but has voted for Democrats in national races and has a legislature dominated by the Democrats since the 1990s. Due to the top two primary election, many statewide and local races are contested by two members of the Democratic Party in the general election.
- United States presidential election, 2016: Hillary Clinton (Democratic) 61.73% and won 55 electoral votes
- United States Senate election, 2016: Democrats 61.6%
- State Assembly election, 2016: Democrats 61.08% and won 55 of 80 seats
- United States House of Representatives elections Democrats 63.91% and won 39 of 53 seats
- District of Columbia has been continuously ruled by Democrats since the Home Rule Act of 1973 was passed.
- Hawaii has been dominated by Democrats since the Democratic Revolution of 1954. Beforehand, the then-Territory of Hawaii was dominated by Republicans and a sugar oligarchy.
- Illinois has been governed under a Democratic super-majority in both houses of the legislature and the governorship since the 2018 elections. Chicago, has been historically dominated by the Cook County Democratic Party – the office of mayor has been filled by a Democrat continuously since 1931.
- New York has an overwhelmingly Democratic population. Democrats have controlled all statewide offices since 2006 (not counting the governor, a Republican was last elected statewide in 2002).
- Oregon, while once a heavily Republican state, has had only one Republican governor since 1975, has voted Democrat in every Presidential election since 1988, and had no Republican statewide elected officials from 2002 until the election of Dennis Richardson as Oregon Secretary of State in 2016.
- Massachusetts has been dominated by Democrats for several decades, however there have been numbers of Republican governors including the current governor Charlie Baker
- Maryland has been dominated by Democrats since the Civil War, with some exceptions.
- Washington, in a manner similar to Oregon, has not had a Republican governor since 1985.
Dominated by the Republican Party:
- Alabama: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Idaho has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with no Democratic governors since 1994 and only two years in which the State Senate was tied evenly since 1960.
- Kansas has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with only four years of Democratic majorities in the State House of Representatives since 1915 and only Republican majorities in the same period. Since 1967, however, five of the last nine governors have been Democrats, although one of these Democrats only held office for two years.
- Louisiana is dominated by the Republicans. New Orleans, however, has been dominated by the Democratic Party since the 19th century.
- Mississippi: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Nebraska has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with a non-partisan legislature (where a de facto Republican majority has held since records began in 2007), mostly Republican governors and elected cabinet officials and only one Republican who changed party to Democrat in 2006 holding state-level partisan office since 1999.
- South Carolina: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- South Dakota has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, aside from a few Democratic and Populist governments and coalitions with Republicans, with only three elected high officials and two years of State Senate dominance since 1979.
- Texas: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Utah has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, except for Democratic dominance during the Fifth Party System and between 1917 and 1920, the 1890s, and between 1959 and 1984.
- Wyoming has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with only four years where a house of the legislature has been Democratic since 1939, and mostly Republican governors during that period.
Dominant-party systems can also exist on native reservations with republican forms of government. The Seneca Nation of Indians, a tribe with territory within the bounds of New York State, has had the Seneca Party as the dominant party in its political system for several decades.
Asia and Oceania
- Cambodian People's Party
- Led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, in office since 14 January 1985
- In power since 1993 (sole legal party 1979–1992)
- 2017 Cambodian communal elections: 50.76% and 6,503 of 11,572 councillors
- 2018 Cambodian Senate election: 95.95% and 58 of 58 seats
- 2018 Cambodian general election: 76.85% and 125 of 125 seats
- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
- Led by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, in office since 26 December 2012.
- In power 1955–1993, 1994–2009 and since 2012 (governed in coalition with Komeito since 1999 in order to maintain Supermajority)
- Parliamentary election 2017: LDP 284 of 465 seats (Governing coalition 313 of 465 seats).
- People's Action Party (PAP)
- Led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in office since 12 August 2004
- In power since 3 June 1959
- Parliamentary election, 2015: PAP won 69.9% of the popular vote and 83 out of 89 seats
- 2016 Bukit Batok by-election: 61.2%
- Presidential election, 2017: Former PAP member Halimah Yacob won (only candidate)[a]
- South Korea
- National Progressive Front (NPF), a coalition of 10 parties led by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region (Baath Party)
- Led by President Bashar al-Assad, in office since 17 July 2000
- In power since 8 March 1963
- Presidential election, 2014: Bashar al-Assad 88.7%
- Parliamentary election, 2016: Baath Party won 134 of 250 seats (National Progressive Front 200 of 250)
- Tajikistan
- Turkmenistan
- Democratic Party of Turkmenistan is headed by Kasymguly Babaev since 18 August 2013.
- Presidential election in 2017 won by Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow 97.69%.
- Parliamentary election, 2018: 55 of 125 seats in the Assembly of Turkmenistan.
- In power since the Independence 1990
- Until 2012 it was the sole legal party in Turkmenistan.
- Kazakhstan
- Justice and Development Party
- Kurdish Majority Provinces
- United Russia
- Led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
- In power since 2003
- Presidential election, 2018: Vladimir Putin 76.7% (supported by United Russia, but run as independent)
- Parliamentary election, 2016: 54.20% and 343 of 450 seats
- Governors: 73 of 85
- Absolute majority (more than half of all seats) in 81 regional parliaments of 85
- South Ossetia
- Lower Austria
- Upper Austria
- Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU)
- Led by Horst Seehofer, Minister-President (since 2008)
- In power since 1946, with a sole hiatus from 1954 to 1958. From 1966 to 2003 and 2013 to 2018, CSU ruled with an absolute majority. Its share of votes peaked in 1974 at 62%. From 2003 to 2008, CSU held a two-thirds supermajority in the Bavarian Landtag. Since the 2010s, the CSU's dominance has somewhat eroded (38.8% in the 2017 German federal election; 37.2% in the 2018 Bavarian state election), but it is still considered impossible to form a government led by another party in Bavaria.
- Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
- In power since the establishment of the state in 1990. CDU ruled with an absolute majority until 2004, and even a two-thirds supermajority in the Landtag from 1994 to 2004. Its popularity peaked at 56,9% in the 1999 election. In the 2010s, CDU's dominance eroded significantly. In the 2017 German federal election, Saxony's CDU came in second place for the first time in the history of the state, reaching 26.9%, behind the far-right Alternative für Deutschland. Due to the irreconcilability of left-wing and right-wing opposition parties, it is still considered impossible to form a state government led by another party than CDU.
- In power since 2010 (won in the European Parliament election, 2009: 14 of 22 of seats for Hungary)
- Led by Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister (since 2010)
- Parliamentary election, 2010: qualified majority, 263 of 386 seats
- Presidential election, 2012: János Áder 67.87%
- European Parliament election, 2014: 51.48% and 12 of 21 of seats for Hungary
- Parliamentary election, 2014: qualified majority, 133 of 199 seats (quantity changed by Constitution of Hungary)
- 2018 Hungarian parliamentary election: qualified majority, 133 of 199 seats
- European Parliament election, 2019: 52.56% and 13 of 21 of seats for Hungary
- Democratic Party[d]
- In power since 2007
- Regional election, 2014: PD 44.5% and 31 of 50 seats
- European Parliament election, 2014: PD 52.5%
- Came in second place in Emilia-Romagna to the Five Star Movement in the Chamber of Deputies election, 2018: PD 26.4%
- Came in second place in Emilia-Romagna to the Five Star Movement in the Senate election, 2018: PD 26.3%
- Centre-right coalition
- In power since 1994
- Came in second place in Lombardy to the Democratic Party in the European Parliament election, 2014: FI+LN+FdI 34.3%
- Regional election, 2018: CDX 51.23% and won 49 of 80 seats
- Presidential election, 2018: Attilio Fontana 49.7%
- Chamber of Deputies election, 2018: CDX 46.9%
- Senate election, 2018: CDX 47.2%
- South Tyrol
- South Tyrolean People's Party
- In power since 1948 (The German Association dominated from 1921 and before that it was part of Tyrol)
- 1924 Italian general election: German Association, part of Lists of Slavs and Germans 80%
- Provincial elections, 2013: SVP 45.7% and 17 of 35 seats
- European Parliament election, 2014: SVP 48.0%
- Chamber of Deputies election, 2018: SVP 48.8%
- Senate election, 2018: SVP 49.8%
- Centre-right coalition
- In power since 1994
- Came in second place in Veneto to the Democratic Party in the European Parliament election, 2014: FI+LN+FdI 33.2%
- Regional election, 2015: CDX 52.2% and won 29 of 51 seats
- Presidential election, 2015: Luca Zaia 50.1%
- Chamber of Deputies election, 2018: CDX 48.1%
- Senate election, 2018: CDX 48.2%
- Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, founded in 1943 as Communist Party of Montenegro, part of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia
- Led by Milo Đukanović, seven term former Prime Minister (1991–1993, 1993–1996, 1996–1998, 2003–2006, 2008–2009, 2009–2010, 2012–2016) and President (1998–2002, 2018-)
- In power since establishment of Communist rule in Montenegro/Yugoslavia in 1944-45 (Sole legal party, 1945–1990)
- Parliamentary election, 2016: DPS 41.1% and 35 of 81 seats
- Presidential election, 2018: Milo Đukanović (DPS), 53.90%
- Madeira: the Social Democratic Party has dominated political life in the autonomous region of Madeira since the first regional elections, in 1976. Alberto João Jardim served as President of the Regional Government uninterruptedly from 1978-2015.
including the then leader, Luís Marques Mendes, say NO) No: 65.40%
- San Marino
- The Sammarinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) have always had a plurality of seats in the Grand and General Council since 1951, However it has not consistently formed the government. Currently since 2016 it is in opposition The predecessor of the PDCS the Sammarinese People's Party was already biggest party in 1920.
- General election, 2016: PDCS first round 24.46%, second round (in San Marino First alliance) 42.08%
- Serbian Progressive Party
- In power since 2012
- Led by Aleksandar Vučić, two-term Prime Minister (2014-2017) and President (2017-onwards)
- Parliamentary election, 2016: SNS 48.25% and 93 of 250 seats
- 2016 Vojvodina parliamentary election: SNS 44.48% and 63 of 120
- Presidential election, 2017: Aleksandar Vučić, 55.06%
- Spanish Socialist Workers' Party of Andalusia
- Majority in Andalusia since 1977 (except 2011 and 2016)
- European Parliament election, 2014: PSOE 35.13%
- Came in second place in Andalusia to the People's Party in the General election, 2016 with 31.20% and won 20 of 61 seats
- Regional election, 2018: PSOE–A 27.95% and on 33 of 109 seats
- United Kingdom
- Welsh Labour Party
- In power in the devolved Welsh Assembly since 1999
- Led by Mark Drakeford, First Minister (since 2018)
- Parliamentary election, 2017: Welsh Labour 48.9% and 28 out of 40 seats
- 2016 National Assembly for Wales elections: Welsh Labour 34.7% and 29 of 60 seats
- Local elections, 2017: Welsh Labour 35.2% and 472 of 1271 seats
- European Parliament election, 2014: Welsh Labour 28.15% and 1 of 4 seats
- Scottish National Party
- In devolved government since 2007 (minority government: 2007-2011, 2016–present) (had a majority from 2011–16)
- Led by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister (since 2014)
- Parliamentary election, 2017: SNP 36.9% and 35 out of 59 seats
- 2016 Scottish Parliament election: SNP 46.5% and 63 of 129
- European Parliament election, 2014: SNP 29.0% and 2 of 6 seats
Formerly dominant parties
- Canada: The Liberal Party of Canada was the dominant party in the federal government of Canada for so much of its history that it is sometimes given the moniker "Canada's natural governing party". The party ruled for most of the 20th century between 1935 and 1984 (the only exceptions being in 1957–1963 and 1979–1980), as well as 1896–1911, 1921–1930 (save a few months), and 1993–2006, with a total of 80 years governed in the past 120 years (As in 2018). After a decade in opposition, the Liberals have returned to power following the 2015 election.
- British Columbia: The Social Credit Party held power for all but 3 years between 1952 and 1991, winning 11 of the 12 elections held during this 39-year period.
- Alberta: The Social Credit Party governed Alberta from 1935 to 1971 and her sister party won all federal elections between 1935 and 1945, except for 1940, and the Alberta PC Party held power from 1971 to 2015.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador held power from confederation in 1949 until Joey Smallwood's resignation as Premier in 1972, during the hung Parliament created by the 1971 Newfoundland general election.
- Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Liberal Party, in the Province of Nova Scotia, held office in an unbroken period from 1882 to 1925. During the period from 1867 to 1956, the party was in power for 76 of 89 years, most of that time with fewer than 5 opposition members.
- Ontario: The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, in the Province of Ontario, held office uninterrupted from 1943 to 1985 (with minority parliaments from 1943 to 1945 and 1975 to 1981). And the Ontario Liberal Party, held power uninterrupted in Province's early history and occasional hiccups in later its history from 1871 to 1905, again in 1932 to 1943, 1985 to 1990, and 2003 to 2018 periods prior to its collapse (with minority parliaments from 1985 to 1987 and 2011 to 2014).
- Quebec: The Union Nationale, in the Province of Quebec, held office uninterrupted from 1944 until 1960 with Quiet revolution. And nearly with the Quebec Liberal Party throughout province's political history with start from 1897 to 1935, then a second time in 1985 and 1989, and lastly third time in 2003 and 2008 periods.
- Mexico: The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its predecessors (Partido Laborista Mexicano (PLM) (1920–1928), Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR) (1929–1938) and Partido de la Revolución Mexicana (PRM) (1938–1946)) in Mexico held the presidency from 1920 to 2000. The party governed all states until 1989 and controlled both chambers of congress until 1997. As of 2017, the PRI has continued an uninterrupted hold of the governorship in five states: Coahuila, Colima, Campeche, Hidalgo and the State of Mexico.
- United States:
- During the "Era of Good Feelings," the Democratic-Republican Party dominated national politics with no effective opposition from the Federalist Party or any third parties, allowing James Monroe to run unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. This dominance continued until the rise of the American Whig Party circa 1830.
- From 1933 to 1995, the Democratic Party held a majority in both Houses of Congress except 1947 to 1949, 1953 to 1955 which Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and 1981 to 1987 which Republicans controlled the Senate.
- New England:
- Southern United States:
- The South (usually defined as coextensive with the former Confederacy) was known until the era of the civil rights movement as the "Solid South" due to its states' reliable support the Democratic Party, which at that time had a strong conservative wing. Several states had an unbroken succession of Democratic governors for half a century to over a century.
- Alabama, 1874–1987 (113 years)
- Arkansas, 1874–1967 (93 years)
- Florida, 1877–1967 (90 years)
- Georgia, 1872–2003 (131 years)
- Louisiana, 1877–1980 (103 years)
- Mississippi, 1876–1992 (116 years)
- North Carolina, 1901–1973 (72 years)
- Oklahoma, 1907–1963 (56 years)
- South Carolina, 1876–1975 (99 years)
- Tennessee, 1883–1971 (88 years), with two interruptions
- Texas, 1874–1979 (105 years)
- Virginia, 1869–1970 (101 years)
- During and after that movement, however, factors such as the national Democratic Party's support for the civil rights movement and the national Republican Party's "Southern strategy" since the mid-1960s and support for the application of religious values to politics eroded the South's support for the Democrats.
- The South (usually defined as coextensive with the former Confederacy) was known until the era of the civil rights movement as the "Solid South" due to its states' reliable support the Democratic Party, which at that time had a strong conservative wing. Several states had an unbroken succession of Democratic governors for half a century to over a century.
Caribbean and Central America
- Puerto Rico: The Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico from 1949 to 1969.
- Antigua and Barbuda: The Antigua Labour Party in Antigua and Barbuda, 1960–1971 and 1976–2004.
- Bermuda: The United Bermuda Party in Bermuda from 1968 to 1998.
- Bahamas: The Progressive Liberal Party in the Bahamas from 1967 to 1992 and 2002–2007
- Guatemala: The Conservative Party in Guatemala from 1847 and 1871. The Liberal Party in Guatemala from 1871 and 1944.
- Nicaragua: The Partido Liberal Nacionalista of the Somoza family held effective control from the 1930s to 1979. It was never the sole legal party, but elections were often fraught with accusations of fraud and improbable results. Later the conservative government held effective control from 1990 to 2007.
- Argentina: The National Autonomist Party (PAN) of Argentina from 1874 to 1916, Justicialist Party from 1946-1955, 1973-1976, 1989-1999 and 2001-2015.
- San Luis: The conservative Liberal Democratic Party ruled the province between 1922 and 1943.
- Bolivia: The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) in Bolivia from 1952 to 1964.
- Brazil: The National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA) in Brazil from 1965 to 1979
- Colombia: The Liberal Party of Colombia from 1863 to 1880 and Colombian Conservative Party from 1900 to 1930
- Paraguay: The Colorado Party of Paraguay, 1880–1904 and 1947–2008. They were the sole legal party from 1947 to 1962.
- Uruguay: The Colorado Party of Uruguay, between 1865 and 1959
- Armenia: The Republican Party of Armenia from 1999 to 2018, which after the 2018 Armenian Revolution and the 2018 parliamentary election lost all its seats.
- Vienna: The Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria, dominated Vienna between 1911 and 1934.
- Lower Austria: The Christian Social Party, dominated Lower Austria between 1907 and 1934.
- Upper Austria: The Christian Social Party, dominated Upper Austria between 1907 and 1934.
- Vorarlberg: The Christian Social Party, dominated Vorarlberg between 1907 and 1934.
- Tyrol: The Christian Social Party, dominated Tyrol between 1907 and 1934.
- Salzburg: The Salzburger Volkspartei, the ÖVP and the predecessors dominated Styria between 1919 and 2004.[c]
- Styria: The Steirische Volkspartei, the ÖVP and the predecessors dominated Styria between 1907 and 2005.[c]
- Croatia: The Croatian Democratic Union was in power from the first multi-party elections in 1990, when Croatia was still a constituent republic of SFR Yugoslavia, until it lost parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000. For most of the 1990s, the party had an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Counties, while its chairman, Franjo Tuđman, was President of Croatia under a de facto superpresidential system of government until his death in 1999.
- Baden-Württemberg: The Christian Democratic Union of Germany ruled from 1953 to 2011 and was biggest party until 2016 (except in Württemberg-Baden for 1950–1952), but is still biggest party at German federal elections and European Parliament elections. And in Baden was the Centre Party in Weimar republic biggest party until 1930.
- Bayern: The Christian Social Union in Bavaria held majority in the Landtag of Bavaria from 1966 to 2008 with the best vote share in 2003 (60.6% and 124 of 180 seats). The party lost its majority in the 2008 elections and governed in a coalition alongside the FDP before regaining its majority in 2013. However, this majority was once again lost in the 2018 state election.
- Saarland: The Christian Democratic Union of Germany ruled from the return of the Saar to (West) Germany in 1959 to 1980. In Landtag elections, the CDU reached between 36.6% in 1955 and 49.1% in 1975, the CDU also dominated federal elections (except for 1972) and in the European election 1979 the CDU/CSU won 46.4%.
- Thuringia: The Christian Democratic Union of Germany ruled from the establishment of the state without interruption until 2014, with an absolute majority from 1999 to 2009. Since 2014, it has been in opposition.
- Hungary: The Unity Party and the Party of National Unity (renamed Party of Hungarian Life in 1939) in the Kingdom of Hungary from 1922 to 1944.
- Ireland: Ireland's Fianna Fáil was the largest party in Dáil Éireann between 1932 and 2011 and in power for 61 of those 79 years. However, the party were heavily defeated in the 2011 Irish general election, coming third.
- Italy: Italy's Christian Democracy dominated the Italian politics for almost 50 years as the major party in every coalition that governed the country from 1944 until its demise amid a welter of corruption allegations in 1992–1994. The main opposition to the Christian democratic governments was the Italian Communist Party.
- Emilia-Romagna: The Italian Socialist Party dominated the region from 1909 until the rise of Fascism.
- Emilia-Romagna: The Italian Communist Party dominated the region from 1946 until 1991.
- Emilia-Romagna: The Democratic Party of the Left dominated the region from 1991 until 1998.
- Emilia-Romagna: The Democrats of the Left dominated the region from 1998 until 2007.
- Tuscany: The Italian Communist Party dominated the region from 1946 until 1953, and then from 1963 until 1991.
- Tuscany: The Democratic Party of the Left dominated the region from 1991 until 1998.
- Tuscany: The Democrats of the Left dominated the region from 1998 until 2007.
- Luxembourg: The Christian Social People's Party (CSV), with its predecessor Party of the Right, governed Luxembourg continuously since 1915 until 2013, except for 1974–1979. However, Luxembourg has a coalition system, and the CSV has been in coalition with at least one of the two next two leading parties for all but four years. It has always won a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections, although it lost the popular vote in 1964 and 1974.
- Norway: The Norwegian Labour Party ruling from 1935 to 1965, though it has been the biggest party in Norway since 1927 and has been in power many other times.
- Portugal: The Portuguese Republican Party, during most of the Portuguese First Republic's existence (1910–1926): After the coup that put an end to Portugal's constitutional monarchy in 1910, the electoral system, which had always ensured victory to the party in government, was left unchanged. Before 1910, it had been the reigning monarch's responsibility to ensure that no one party remain too long in government, usually by disbanding Parliament and calling for new elections. The republic's constitution added no such proviso, and the Portuguese Republican Party was able to keep the other minor republican parties (monarchic parties had been declared illegal) from winning elections. On the rare occasions when it was ousted from power, it was overthrown by force and was again by the means of a counter-coup that it returned to power, until its final fall, with the republic itself, in 1926.
- Sweden: The Swedish Social Democratic Party in Sweden from 1932 to 2006 except only for some months in 1936 (1936–1939 and 1951–1957 in coalition with the Farmers' League, 1939–1945 at the head of a government of national unity), 1976-1982 and 1991-1994. The party is still the largest party in Sweden and has been so in every general election since 1917 (hence the largest party even before the universal suffrage was introduces in 1921). The former Prime minister and party leader Tage Erlander led the Swedish government for an uninterrupted tenure of 23 years (1946–1969), the longest in any democracy so far. Since 2006 the party support has declined.
- Turkey: In Turkey's single-party period, the Republican People's Party became the major political organisation of a single-party state. However, CHP faced two opposition parties during this period, both established upon the request of the founder of Turkey and CHP leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in efforts to jump-start multiparty democracy in Turkey. AKP was the dominant party in Istanbul and Ankara for 25 years until the 2019 local elections.
- United Kingdom: The Conservative and Unionist Party held power alone or as the largest coalition partner from 1916 to 1923, from 1924 to 1929, from 1931 to 1945, from 1951 to 1964, from 1970 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1997 – in total 61 out of 81 years from 1916 to 1997.
- Scotland: The Scottish Labour Party won every election to the House of Commons in Scotland from 1964 to 2015, where it was heavily defeated and reduced to 1 seat. It controlled the Scottish Parliament from its inception in 1999 until the 2007 election where it lost to the SNP.
- Northern Ireland: The Ulster Unionist Party in the former devolved administration of Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972.
- FR Yugoslavia: The Socialist Party of Serbia in FR Yugoslavia from 1944/5 (Sole legal party, 1945–1990) to 2000.
- Philippines: The Nacionalista Party in the Philippines was the dominant party during various times in the nation's history from 1916–1941, and on 1945. From 1978 to 1986 Kilusang Bagong Lipunan operated as a dominant party.
- India: The Indian National Congress held power both at the Union and at many states from its Independence in 1947 to 1977, and from 1980 to 1989. It formed minority governments from 1991 to 1996, and from 2004 to 2014.
- Bangladesh: In Bangladesh, the Awami League was the country's predominant political party between 1972 and 1975 and from 2009 to present. After the military coup of 1975, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) became the dominant political force between 1977 and 1982. Under the autocratic regime of General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the Jatiya Party was the dominant party between 1986 and 1990. Currently, Bangladesh Awami League again has become the dominant political force since 2008.
- Cambodia: The Democratic Party was the dominant party in Cambodia from 1946 to 1955, The Sangkum in Cambodia was the dominant party under Prince Norodom Sihanouk as head of government from 1955 to 1970. Under the Khmer Republic the Social Republican Party was the dominant party under General Lon Nol from 1972 to 1975.
- Burma: The Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League in Burma (now Myanmar) from 1948 to 1962. The Union Solidarity and Development Party from 2011 to 2016 (as a military junta from 1988 to 2011).
- Republic of China: The Kuomintang established a de facto one-party state in the Republic of China on the mainland and subsequently on Taiwan until political liberalization and the lifting of martial law in the late 1980s. The Kuomintang continued to dominate the political system until the victory of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in the 2000 presidential election. Kuomintang maintained control of the Legislative Yuan until 2016.
- South Korea: Liberal Party (South Korea) in power 1948–1960, Democratic Republican Party (South Korea) in power 1962–1980, Democratic Justice Party in power 1980–1990, Democratic Liberal Party (South Korea) in power 1990-1995 and New Korea Party in power 1995-1997.
- South Vietnam: South Vietnam Personalist Labor Revolutionary Party in power 1955–1963, National Social Democratic Front in power 1969-1975.
- Indonesia: The Golkar (Acronym of Golongan Karya or Functional Group) in Indonesia from 1971 to 1999.
- Israel: Mapai in Israel was the dominant party from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 until merging into present-day Israeli Labor Party in 1968. The Labor Party started losing influence in the 1970s, particularly following the Yom Kippur War, and eventually lost power in the 1977 election. The Labor Party continued to participate in several coalition governments until 2009.
- Malaysia: Barisan Nasional, in power from 1957 to 2018, defeated in 2018 election.
- Yemen: General People's Congress, In power effectively from 1982 to 2015, ceded effective control after Houthi takeover of Sana'a.
- South Africa: The National Party in South Africa from 1948 to 1994.
- Algeria: The National Liberation Front, from 1962 to 1992, and from 1999 to 2019
- Egypt: The National Democratic Party (NDP) of Egypt, under various names, from 1952 to 2011 (as Arab Socialist Union, sole legal party 1953–1978)
- Nigeria: People's Democratic Party (PDP) was in power from May 29, 1999 till May 29, 2015 when the opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election in 2015.
- Tunisia: The Democratic Constitutional Rally in Tunisia, 1956–2011 (as the sole legal party between 1963 and 1981)
- Senegal: The Socialist Party in Senegal from 1960 to 2000.
- Rhodesia: The Rhodesian Front in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), under the leadership of Ian Smith, from 1965 to 1980.
- The Gambia: The People's Progressive Party in The Gambia from 1962 to 1994. The Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction under Yahya Jammeh from 1996 to 2017, with Jammeh ruling first under a Junta after a coup from 1994 to 1996.
- Burkina Faso: The Congress for Democracy and Progress from 1996 to 2014, under Blaise Compaoré, who ruled first as an independent after a coup from 1987 to 1989, then leads Organization for Popular Democracy – Labour Movement from 1989 to 1996.
- Seychelles: The People's Party (until 2009 Seychelles People's Progressive Front) on the Seychelles from 1977 to 2016, as the sole legal party between 1979 and 1991.
- Sudan: National Congress from 1989 to 2019.
- Zambia: The Movement for Multiparty Democracy in Zambia from 1991 to 2011.
- Australia: The Liberal Party (generally in coalition with the National Party) held power federally from 1949 to 1972 and from 1975 to 1983 (31 out of 34 years). By the scheduled expiry of the 46th Parliament in 2022, the Liberal-National Coalition will have held power for 20 out of the 26 years between 1996 and 2022.
- Northern Territory: The Country Liberal Party held power from the granting of self-government in 1978 to 2001 (23 years).
- New South Wales: The Labor Party held power from 1941 to 1965 (24 years), and from 1976 to 1988 and 1995 to 2011 (28 out of 35 years) – in total 52 out of 70 years from 1941 to 2011.
- Queensland: The Labor Party held power from 1915 to 1929 and from 1932 to 1957 (39 out of 42 years). The National Party then held power from 1957 to 1989 (32 years).
- South Australia: The Liberal and Country League held power from 1933 to 1965 (32 years). The Labor Party held power from 1970 to 1979, from 1982 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2018 (26 out of 38 years).
- Tasmania: The Labor Party held power from 1934 to 1969 and from 1972 to 1982 (45 out of 48 years), from 1989 to 1992, and from 1998 to 2014 (16 years) – in total 64 out of 80 years from 1934 to 2014.
- Victoria: The Liberal Party held power from 1955 to 1982 (27 years).
- Western Australia: The Liberal Party held power from 1947 to 1983 with two one-term interruptions between 1953 and 1956 and 1971 to 1974 (30 out 36 years).
- Presidents in Singapore are not allowed to belong to any party.
- Formerly its predecessors People's Labor Party (with SHP), People's Democracy Party, Democratic People's Party, Thousand Hope Candidates and Labour, Democracy and Freedom Bloc.
- The predecessors of the ÖVP are the Christian Social Party ruled from 1907 to the renaming 1933 and the Fatherland Front ruled from 1933 to the Anschluss 1938.
- Formerly its predecessors Italian Socialist Party (before 1924), PCI, PDS and DS.
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