One-party state

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Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows (at least nominally) democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.


One-party states justify themselves through various methods. Most often, proponents of a one-party state argue that the existence of separate parties runs counter to national unity. Others argue that the one party is the vanguard of the people, and therefore its right to rule cannot be legitimately questioned. The Marxist theory states that political parties represent the interests, most of which, in a liberal system, respond to the economic power and are part of the system (the superstructure) where whoever wins there will be no substantial changes, once abolished class distinctions no place for the struggle for multiparty own economic interests, however, an organization that is able to formulate national policies and manage their reins to ensure the development of socialism is necessary, this organization is the only party to be the only existing single social class and the common interest of progress.[clarification needed]

Some one-party states only outlaw opposition parties, while allowing subordinate allied parties to exist as part of a permanent coalition such as a popular front.[citation needed] Examples of this are the People's Republic of China under the United Front, or the National Front in former East Germany. Others may allow non-party members to run for legislative seats, as was the case with Taiwan's Tangwai movement in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the Soviet Union.

Within their own countries, dominant parties ruling over one-party states are often referred to simply as the Party. For example, in reference to the Soviet Union, the Party meant the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; in reference to the former People's Republic of Poland it referred to the Polish United Workers' Party.

Most one-party states have been ruled either by parties following the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union for most of its existence), or by parties following some type of nationalist or fascist ideology (such as Italy under Benito Mussolini), or by parties that came to power in the wake of independence from colonial rule. One-party systems often arise from decolonization because one party has had an overwhelmingly dominant role in liberation or in independence struggles.

One-party states are often, but not always, considered to be authoritarian or totalitarian. However, not all authoritarian or totalitarian states operate based on one-party rule. Some, especially absolute monarchies and certain military dictatorships, have made all political parties illegal.

The term "communist state" is often used in the west to apply to states in which the ruling party subscribes to a form of Marxism-Leninism. However, such states do not use that term themselves, seeing communism as a phase to develop after the full maturation of socialism, and instead often use the titles of "people's republic", "socialist republic", or "democratic republic". One peculiar example is Cuba, where the role of the Communist Party is enshrined in the constitution, and no party is permitted to campaign or run candidates for election, including the Communist party. Candidates are elected on an individual referendum basis without formal party involvement, though elected assemblies predominantly consist of members of the dominant party alongside non-affiliated candidates.[1]


Countries by their form of government:
  Presidential republics with a full presidential system
  Presidential republics with a semi-presidential system
  Parliamentary republics with an executive president chosen by the parliament
  Parliamentary republics with a ceremonial president, where the prime minister is the executive
  Constitutional monarchies where executive power is vested in a prime minister
  Constitutional monarchies, which have a separate head of government but where royalty hold political power
  One-party states
  Countries that do not fit in any of the above listed systems (other systems or in transition)
  No government

The True Whig Party of Liberia is considered the founder of the first one-party state in the world, as despite opposition parties never being outlawed, it completely dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980.[2] The party was conceived by the original Black American settlers and their descendants who referred to themselves as Americo-Liberians. Initially, its ideology was heavily influenced by that of the Whig Party in the United States. Over time it developed into a powerful Masonic Order that ruled every aspect of Liberian society for well over a century until it was overthrown in 1980. While the True Whig Party still exists today, its influence has substantially declined.

Current one-party states

As of 2013 the following countries are legally constituted as one-party states and the name of the one party in power:

Country Formerly Party Front One-party state adopted Incumbency due to
 People's Republic of China Presidential system (Part of the Republic of China) Communist Party of China United Front 1949 Chinese Civil War
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea Colony (Part of Korea under Japanese rule) Workers' Party of Korea Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland 1948 Liberation of Korea
 Cuba Semi-presidential system (Republic of Cuba) Communist Party of Cuba 1959 Cuban Revolution
 Laos Constitutional monarchy (Kingdom of Laos) Lao People's Revolutionary Party Lao Front for National Construction 1975 Laotian Civil War
 Vietnam Colony (State of Vietnam, part of French Indochina) Communist Party of Vietnam Vietnamese Fatherland Front 1954 First Indochina War
Semi-presidential system (South Vietnam) 1976 Vietnam War
 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Colony (Before part of the Spanish Sahara) Polisario Front 1975 Western Sahara War
 Eritrea Provisional government (Part of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia) People's Front for Democracy and Justice 1991 Eritrean War of Independence

Former one-party states

See also


  1. Cuba: Elections and Events 1991-2001 Latin American Election Statistics Home
  2. Liberia Country Study: The True Whig Ascendancy Global Security

External links