What is One-Party (One-Party Republic)

One party refers to political system in which only one party can be elected, either because only one party can run in the elections or because a single party among several concentrates the opportunities and advantages.

One-party system can be established de facto or through the enactment of laws that legitimize it. Therefore, one-party systems easily lead to open dictatorships.

Unlike a classic dictatorship, one-party regimes call for elections in order to demonstrate its legitimacy. Therefore, in these scenarios, free elections do not prove the existence of democracy.

In one-party models it is not always necessary to outlaw opposition political parties in this system. It may be enough to control the institutions, opportunities and advantages of the political order in order to guarantee the continuity of the single party.

One-party systems are tolerant of a certain level of opposition, since their presence is necessary to create the illusion of plurality, legitimacy, and democracy.

Characteristics of one party

Among the main characteristics of one-party system, we can mention the following:

  • It denies or prevents the right to political alternation characteristic of democracy.
  • Concentrate the power.
  • Control the electoral processes.
  • It arbitrarily interprets laws and democratic principles.

Types of one party

According to the dominant ideology, there have been different types of one-party regimes throughout history:

fascist one-party system

In fascism, the one-party system implies the progressive elimination of all types of opposition until the elections are eradicated. Examples: National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) or the Italian Fascist Party.

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See also Characteristics of fascism.

nationalist single party

Typical of nations that have recently gained their independence. It corresponds to periods of transition and consolidation of power. Depending on historical conditions, the single party can perpetuate itself over time and lead to a dictatorship. Example: Eritrea and Iraq.

Marxist-Leninist one-party system

In this model, elections are normally held to uphold the democratic reputation of the government. However, there are no real options to choose a different party. Only the government party can win. Examples: Cuba, North Korea or China.

See also Characteristics of Communism.

Single party by predominance

In this model, a single party concentrates the chances of winning elections, even in the context of a non-authoritarian democratic order. Example: government of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico, which governed uninterruptedly for decades.

See also:

  • Political party.
  • Bipartisanship.