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A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
in which only one
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
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
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative dem ...

election
s. 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 power. The rule of the
Committee of Union and Progress The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) ( ota, إتحاد و ترقى جمعيتی, translit=İttihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti), later the Union and Progress Party ( ota, إتحاد و ترقى فرقه‌ سی, translit=İttihad ve Terakki Fırkas ...
(CUP) in the Ottoman Empire following the
1913 Ottoman coup d'état The 1913 Ottoman coup d'état (January 23, 1913), also known as the Raid on the Sublime Porte ( tr, Bâb-ı Âlî Baskını), was a coup d'état carried out in the Ottoman Empire by a number of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) members led by ...

1913 Ottoman coup d'état
is considered the first one-party state.


Concept

One-party states explain 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 The vanguard (also called the advance guard) is the leading part of an advancing military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military c ...
of the people, and therefore its right to rule cannot be legitimately questioned. The
Soviet government The Government of the Soviet Union ( rus, Прави́тельство СССР, p=prɐˈvʲitʲɪlʲstvə ɛs ɛs ɛs ˈɛr, r=Pravítelstvo SSSR, lang=no), formally the All-Union Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, commonly ab ...
argued that multiple parties represented the
class struggle Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, socia ...
and because of this the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
legally authorized and recognized a single party leading the proletariat, namely the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the One-party state, sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 19 ...
. Some one-party states only outlaw opposition parties, while allowing allied parties to exist as part of a permanent
coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
such as a
popular front A popular front is "any coalition of working-class and middle-class parties", including liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent ...
. However, these parties are largely or completely subservient to the ruling party and must accept the ruling party's monopoly of power as a condition of their existence. Examples of this are the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...
under the
United Front A united front is an alliance An alliance is a relationship among people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciou ...
, the
National FrontNational Front or Front National can refer to the following political parties and coalitions: Africa * Botswana National Front * National Front for the Salvation of Libya * Namibia National Front * Front National (South Africa) , a Boer-Afrikaner po ...
in former
East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...
and the
Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea The Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, also known as the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, DFRF, or the Fatherland Front, formed on 22 July 1946, is a North Korean popular front led by the Workers' Party ...
in
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
. Others may outlaw all other parties yet allow non-party members to run for legislative seats as
independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
, as was the case with
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
's
Tangwai movement The ''Tangwai'' movement, or simply ''Tangwai'' (), was a loosely knit political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (soc ...
in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the
elections An election is a formal group decision-makingGroup decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individuals An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Ind ...
in the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. Still others may both outlaw all other parties and include party membership as a prerequisite for holding public office, such as in
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ), also known as Turkmenia, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There ar ...

Turkmenistan
under the rule of
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmyrat Atayevich Niyazov, Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, or Saparmurad Atayevich Niyazov, Сапармырат Атаевич Ныязов, ; rus, links=no, Сапармурад Атаевич Ниязов or (19 February 1940 – ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
or
Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: République du Zaïre, link=no, ), was the name of a sovereign state between 1971 and 1997 in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Zaire
under
Mobutu Sese Seko Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (; born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) was a Congolese politician and military officer who was the President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate titl ...
. 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 Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, ''the Party'' meant the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the One-party state, sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 19 ...
; in reference to the pre-1991
Republic of Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia (Bemba language, Bemba:'' Icalo ca Zambia''; Tonga language (Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tonga: ''Cisi ca Zambia''; Lozi language, Lozi: ''Naha ya Zambia''; Chewa language, Nyanja: ''Dziko la Zambia''), ...

Republic of Zambia
, it referred to the
United National Independence Party The United National Independence Party (UNIP) is a political party in Zambia. It governed the country from 1964 to 1991 under the socialist President (government title), presidency of Kenneth Kaunda, and which was the sole legal party between ...
. Most one-party states have been ruled by parties forming in one of the following three circumstances: #An ideology of
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
and international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union for most of its existence); #Some type of
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
or
fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particular ...

fascist
ideology (such as the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...
under the
National Fascist Party The National Fascist Party ( it, Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF) was an Italian political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members ...
or
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
under the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
); #Parties that came to power in the wake of independence from
colonial rule Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose their religio ...
. One-party systems often arise from decolonization because a single party gains an overwhelmingly dominant role in liberation or in independence struggles. One-party states are usually considered to be
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mo ...
, to the extent that they are occasionally
totalitarian Totalitarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthl ...

totalitarian
. On the other hand, not all authoritarian or totalitarian states operate upon one-party rule. Some, especially amongst
absolute monarchies Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. ...
and
military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the m ...
s, have no need for a ruling party, and therefore make all political parties illegal. The term "
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that ...
" is sometimes used in the West to describe states in which the
ruling party The ruling party or governing party in a democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a f ...
subscribes to a form of Marxism–Leninism. However, such states may not use that term themselves, seeing
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communism
as a phase to develop after the full maturation of
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
, and instead use descriptions such as "
people's republic#REDIRECT People's republic People's republic is an official title used by some currently or formerly communist or left-wing states. It is mainly associated with soviet republics, socialist states following people's democracy, sovereign state ...
", "
socialist republic Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and Economic ideology, economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic system, economic and social systems characterised by social ownershipArnold, N. Scott (1998 ...
", or "
democratic republic A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state ...
". One peculiar example is
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
where, despite the role of the
Communist Party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...
being enshrined in the constitution, no party, including the Communist Party, is permitted to campaign or run candidates for
elections An election is a formal group decision-makingGroup decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individuals An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Ind ...
. Candidates are elected on an individual
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
basis without formal party involvement, although elected assemblies predominantly consist of members of the Communist Party alongside non-affiliated candidates.Cuba: Elections and Events 1991–2001
Latin American Election Statistics Home


Current one-party states

the following countries are legally constituted as one-party states:


Former one-party states


See also

*
Ban on factions in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union In 1921, factions were banned in the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU),. Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. at some points known as the Russian Communist Party or All-Union Communi ...
*
Political organisation A political organization is any organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Angl ...
*
Dominant-party system A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system, is a political occurrence in which a single political party continuously dominates election results over running opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars ...
*
Political faction A political faction is a group of individuals that share a common political purpose but differs in some respect to the rest of the entity. A faction within a group or political party may include fragmented sub-factions, "parties within a party," ...
alism * Outline of democracy *
Multi-party system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decis ...
*
Two-party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
* List of political party songs


Notes


References


External links


Map of One Party States, 1945-95One-party states in Africa
BBC

{{Portal bar, Politics Authoritarianism Political systems Political party systems Unitary state