Political Parties: Everything You Need to Know

What is a Political Party: A political party is a group of like-minded people who work together to win elections and form the government. Political parties compete against each other for political power and for the ability to put their philosophies and policies into effect.

What Does Political Party Does: Across the world Political Parties perform many functions, including:

  1. Field Candidates:Parties want to win elections, so they must recruit people who are likely to win.
  2. Form and Release Manifestos: All Political Parties release Manifestos before elections containing the promises to be completed if they come in power.
  3. Organize Election Campaigns:Parties work hard to mobilize voters, encourage people to volunteer at the polls, and organize election campaigns.
  4. Hold National Meetings:Every year (or some different time period for different parties), the parties hold National Meetings to formally declare the party’s Ideologies, philosophy and to choose the party’s President and Vice-Presidents and Members for other key party posts.
  5. Ensure Plurality:The out-of-power party articulates its views on issues of public interest, usually in opposition to the ruling party. By doing this, the opposition party gives the public an alternative.

What are the different Political Systems: Different countries follow different Political System, depending upon their history, economics and other factors. The 4 major Political Systems across world are mentioned below:

  1. Non-Partisan System: In aNon-Partisan system, no official political parties exist. In nonpartisan elections, each candidate is eligible for office on his or her own merits. In nonpartisan legislatures, there are no typically formal party alignments within the legislature.
  1. Single Dominant Party: InSingle Party systems, one political party is legally allowed to hold effective power. Although minor parties may sometimes be allowed, they are legally required to accept the leadership of the dominant party. In this system sometimes positions within the party may in fact be more important than positions within the government.
    North Korea and China are current examples of Single Party System; others can be found in Fascist states, such as Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945. The single-party system is thus usually equated with dictatorships and tyranny.
  1. Two Party System: Two Party Systemsis followed in countries such as Jamaica, Ghana and United States; in which there are two political parties dominant to such an extent that electoral success of any other party is almost impossible. One right wing coalition party and one left wing coalition party is the most common ideological breakdown in such a system.
  1. Multiple Party System: Multi Party Systems are systems in which more than two parties are represented and elected to public office. Australia, Pakistan, India, United Kingdom are examples of countries with two strong parties and additional smaller parties that have also obtained representation. The smaller or “third” parties may hold the balance of power in a parliamentary system, and thus may be invited to form a part of a coalition government together with one of the larger parties; or may instead act independently from the dominant parties. 

Political System in India: India has a Multi-Party System with recognition accorded to national and state level parties. The status is reviewed periodically by the Election Commission of India. Since the last three decades the two dominant national parties (INC and BJP) represent left of center and right of center beliefs.

Other political parties that wish to contest local, state or national elections are required to be registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Registered parties are upgraded as recognized national or state level parties based upon objective criteria. A recognized party enjoys privileges like reserved party symbol, free broadcast time on state run television and radio, consultation in setting of election dates and giving inputs in setting electoral rules and regulations.

Criteria for recognition: The criteria for being recognized as a state party or as a national party has been laid down by the Election Commission of India. Any party aspiring to state or national party status must fulfil at least one of the concerned criteria. In addition, national and state parties have to fulfil these conditions for all subsequent Lok Sabha or State elections, or else they lose their status.

  1. State party: A registered party has to fulfill any of the following conditions for recognition as a State Party:
  • A party should win minimum three percent of the total number of seats or a minimum of three seats in the Legislative Assembly.
  • A party should win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to that State.
  • A political party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled during general election to a Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly and should, in addition, win at least one Lok Sabha, and two Legislative Assembly seats in that election.

Under the liberalized criteria, one more clause has been added to provide that even if a Party fails to win any seat in a State in a general election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly of the State, the party will still be eligible for recognition as State Party if it secures 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the State.

  1. National party: A registered party is recognized as a National Party only if it fulfils any one of the following three conditions:
  • The party wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha (as of now, 11 seats) from at least 3 different States.
  • At a General Election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6% of votes in four States and in addition it wins 4 Lok Sabha seats.
  • A party gets recognition as State Party in four or more States.

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One thought on “Political Parties: Everything You Need to Know

  1. Very lucid well explained and nicely written. .
    Also if possible try to add some pictorial information with articles.



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