A party system may be defined as a type of governmental political arrangement in which political parties are permitted to operate for the purpose of forming a government on political party basis.
Political parties may be defined as organized group of people who share similar political opinions and ideology with the aim of gaining political power and governing the country.
In United State, two political parties – Republican and Democratic Parties exist. Nigeria operate a multi-party system but drifting towards a two party state given the outcome of the 2015 elections where the two dominant parties are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
FUNCTIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
i) It helps to select and appoint leaders and personnel for government of a country through election processes.
ii) Party manifestoes help government of a country in formulating its policies.
iii) The existence of political parties in a country helps to streamline divergent public opinions.
TYPES OF PARTY SYSTEM
1) Zero Party System: It exists where elections are conducted and contested based on personal attributes, capabilities and programmes presented by one individual. There is absence of political parties in a zero party system.
MERITS OF ZERO PARTY
i) Choice of candidate will be based on personal recognition and merit.
ii) Much time is not wasted on primary elections and the cost of conducting election is substantially reduced.
iii) Electorates find it easy deciding on candidates of their choice.
DE-MERITS OF ZERO PARTY
i) Political parties which can mobilize the people and harness their energies for national development are absent.
ii) Election may be rowdy and disorganized especially when so many candidates are standing for election.
2) ONE-PARTY SYSTEM: This is defined as a political system in which only one political party is legally and constitutionally allowed to operate or through gradual elimination of other political parties through the electoral processes.
TWO TYPES OF ONE PARTY
i) DE JURE ONE-PARTY SYSTEM: Only one political party is legally and constitutionally allowed to operate.
ii) DE FACTO ONE-PARTY SYSTEM: It exists where there is no legal or constitutional prohibition on other parties to exist rather the competing political parties are gradually eliminated from functioning through the electoral processes.
MERITS OF ONE-PARTY SYSTEM
i) National integration
ii) Strong leadership
iii) Political stability
iv) Leads to economic development
v) Prevents waste of resources on electioneering campaign
DISADVANTAGES OF ONE-PARTY SYSTEM
i) It is undemocratic as the electorates do not have alternative to candidates presented for an election.
ii) Leads to dictatorship by the ruling party.
iii) It abridges human rights to freedom of association, free speech etc.
3) TWO PARTY SYSTEM: It may be defined as a political system in which only two political parties are legally and constitutionally allowed to operate or two major political parties dominate in wining substantial portion of the votes and form government alternatively.
ADVANTAGES OF TWO PARTY SYSTEM
i) It is more democratic in nature.
ii) Provision of alternative party
iii) Prevention of dictatorship
iv) Provision of watchdog to the government
v) Guarantees stable political system
DISADVANTAGES OF TWO-PARTY SYSTEM
i) It leads to polarization of citizens of a country
ii) Leads to disunity
iii) Marginalization of minority interest
iv) Leads to unhealthy rivalry
v) Too expensive
4) MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM: It is defined as a political system in which more than two political parties are allowed to compete for gaining of political power and governing the country.
MERITS OF MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM
i) Provision of wider choice of candidates.
ii) Allows more shades of opinion
iii) Permits a wide range of ideologies
iv) Encourage the formation of a coalition government
v) It permits human rights to freedom of association and free speech etc.
DISADVANTAGES OF MULTI PARTY SYSTEM
i) It is too expensive to run.
ii) Leads to unhealthy rivalry among varying political parties.
iii) Leads to political instability.
iv) Waste of resources
v) Prone to election rigging
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