Single Party System vs Two-Party System: Difference and Comparison

A one-party state or system is one of the words used to describe a single-party system. The political party in power monopolises the administration under the governance of a “single-party system”.

The term “double-party system” is used to describe the governance of a two-party system. Here, the decisions are made by mutual agreement of both political parties that control the government and are in power.

Key Takeaways

  1. A single-party system features one dominant political party that controls the government with no significant opposition. In contrast, a two-party system consists of two major political parties that compete for power, with other smaller parties having little influence on policy or elections.
  2. Single-party systems are common in authoritarian regimes and can lead to a lack of political diversity and accountability, while two-party systems encourage competition and compromise between opposing ideologies.
  3. Single-party and two-party systems have strengths and weaknesses, with single-party systems potentially providing more stability and continuity and two-party plans promoting a more balanced representation of political views.

Single Party System vs Two Party System

When a government is controlled and managed by only one political party, it is called a single-party system. In this system, one party has all the power and authority. A single party makes all the decisions. When two political parties manage the government at the same time, it is called a two-party system. In this system, decisions are made by both parties.

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In a single-party system, the only political party in power has all decision-making authority. They also create acts and laws that the state’s citizens must observe. In a single-party system, the ruling political party has a monopoly on the administration.

As a result, any other possible political party will be unable to assess the legitimacy of the ruling party’s rules and actions.

In a two-party state, decisions are made by mutual agreement between the political parties that control the government and are in power. The act is passed on, or a law is made when the majority of both sides agree on a decision.

In a two-party system, even though one party has more power than the other, the powerful party cannot make any decisions without the other party’s approval.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSingle Party SystemTwo Party System
No. Of partiesOneTwo
Opposition partyDoes not existExists
RoleHolds the governmentOne holds the government, another acts as opposition
Type of ruleMonopolyMutual consent of the opposition
Variety to VotersDoes not existExists
ExamplesNorth Korea, ChinaBritain

What is Single Party System?

In a single-party state or system, the ruling political party has a monopoly on administration. As a result, any other possible political party will be unable to assess the credibility of the ruling party’s rules and actions.

Because there is no opposition party under the single-party system, there is no chance for a group of legislators to check and balance the ruling party.

Here, only one political party in power possesses complete decision-making authority.

They also create acts and laws that the state’s citizens are expected to observe. There is no competition when it comes to running for governor. As a result, voters have little say in the type of government they want to live under.

A single-party system has many terminologies to describe it, such as a one-party state. In a single-party system, only one political party has the power to organize, manage, and hold the government in a sovereign state at any given moment.

What is Two Party System?

The act is enacted, or a law is made when the majority of both parties agree on a decision.

Even when one party has more power than the other in a two-party system, the powerful party is unable to make any decisions without the approval of the other existing party.

Because the opposition party exists under the two-party system, it keeps an eye on and checks and balances the acts passed by the administration.

Here, the decisions are made by mutual agreement between the two political parties that control the government and are in power. In this scenario, the major political party and the opposition party operate as two excellent choices for voters when it comes to contesting elections.

The term “dual or double-party system” is commonly used to describe a two-party system. Here the political parties, two or more in number, have the right to create and hold the government in the country at any one time.

Main Differences Between Single Party System and Two Party System

  1. The single-party system is popularly known by various terms, such as one-party state, single-party state, and the one-party system as well. On the other hand, a Two-party System is popularly known by various terms, such as dual or double-party system.
  2. In the case of a Single-party system, at a given point in time, only one political party possesses the right to run the government by holding and forming a sovereign state. On the other hand, in the case of the Two-party System, at a given point in time, two political parties possess the right to form and hold the government in the country.
  3. The only political party which is in power in the case of a Single-party system possesses all the rights to take decisions. They also form acts and laws that the state’s citizens are asked to follow. On the other hand, both the political parties who hold the government and are in power in the case of a two-party system take decisions based on a mutual agreement. When the majority of both parties agree on a decision, the act is passed on, r a law is made.
  4. In a Single-party state, the political party which is in power has its monopoly on the administration. Hence, any other potential political party is not capable enough to check the credibility of the rules and acts made by the party in power. On the other hand, in the case of a Two-party system, although one party possesses more power than the other, the powerful party is not capable enough to take any decision without the consent of the other existing party.
  5. As there is no existence of an opposition party in the Single-party state, there is no potential group of politicians who can check and balance the party which is in power. On the other hand, due to the existence of the opposition party in the Two-party system, the opposition party keeps an eye on and checks & balances the acts passed by the government.
  6. At the time when elections are contested, in a state adhering to a Single-party system, no competitor exists. Hence, the voters cannot choose the type of government they desire to live in. On the other hand, when the time for elections approaches in a state adhering to a Two-party system, the major political party, along with the opposition party, acts as two great choices for the voters to choose from.
References
  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/twoparty-system-and-duvergers-law-an-essay-on-the-history-of-political-science/3CA289C649AFCB8D4CC8F430FC292CC3
  2. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/102/3/651/1888016

Last Updated : 26 July, 2023

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