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
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
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
Bosnia and Herzegovina Alliance of Independent Social Democrats Party of Democratic Action
Brazil Workers' Party Brazilian Social Democracy Party Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Cape Verde African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde Movement for Democracy
Canada Liberal Party of Canada Conservative Party of Canada New Democratic Party of Canada
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
Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party ANO 2011 The Civic Democratic Party was the dominant centre-right party until 2013.
Cyprus Progressive Party of Working People Democratic Rally
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 Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front Nationalist Republican Alliance Unity Movement
Estonia Estonian Centre Party Estonian Reform Party
European Union Party of European Socialists European People's Party
Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland National Coalition Party Centre Party
Finns Party
France Socialist Party The Republicans
Georgia Georgian Dream United National Movement
Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany Christian Democratic Union
Greece Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) New Democracy Until the 2012 legislative election, Pasok was the major party of the centre-left.
Gibraltar Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party Gibraltar Social Democrats
Hong Kong Democratic Party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
Iceland Social Democratic Alliance Independence Party Progressive Party
India Indian National Congress Bharatiya Janata Party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Khazgam
Indonesia Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle Golkar Party Gerindra Party and Democratic 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 Zionist Union Likud
Italy Democratic Party Forza Italia Five Star Movement Until 1992 the major party was Christian Democracy, which had been in government for five decades; the second party was the Italian Communist Party.
Japan Democratic Party Liberal Democratic Party
Jamaica People's National Party Jamaica Labour Party
South Africa African National Congress Democratic Alliance
South Korea Democratic United Party Saenuri Party
Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony" Unity Union of Greens and Farmers
Liechtenstein Free List (Liechtenstein) Progressive Citizens' Party,
Patriotic Union
Lithuania Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Homeland Union Labour 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 Institutional Revolutionary Party National Action Party Party of the Democratic Revolution
Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists Democratic Front
Netherlands Labour Party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy Christian Democratic Appeal
New Zealand Labour Party National Party
Nigeria All Progressives Congress People's Democratic Party
Norway Labour Party Conservative Party Progress Party
Pakistan Pakistan People's Party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)
Peru Peru Wins Force 2011
Poland Civic Platform Law and Justice
Portugal Socialist Party Social Democratic Party
Republic of China (Taiwan) Democratic Progressive Party Kuomintang
Romania Social Democratic Party National Liberal Party
Russia Communist Party of Russia United Russia
Singapore Workers' Party of Singapore People's Action Party
Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Christian Democratic Movement
Slovenia Modern Centre Party Slovenian Democratic Party
Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party People's Party
Sri-Lanka United National Party United People's Freedom Alliance Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna & Tamil National Alliance
Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party Moderate Party
Turkey Republican People's Party Justice and Development Party
United Kingdom Labour Party Conservative Party From the 17th through mid-19th century, the Whigs and the Tories were the major parties.
United Kingdom (Scotland) Scottish National Party & Scottish Labour Party Scottish Conservative Party Scottish Liberal Democrats Scotland has similar major parties to that of the United Kingdom, with the exception of having its own nationalist party which is also centre left.
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 & Plaid Cymru Welsh Conservative Party 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.

See also[edit]