two-party system

(redirected from Majority party)
Also found in: Dictionary.

two-party system

a political system (found in e.g. the UK or the USA) in which the electoral contest is dominated by two main parties. Generally one party is ‘left wing’, and the other ‘right wing’, but not always (e.g. the Republic of Ireland). An elective system based on single-member constituencies and first-past-the-post elections usually underlies this. The existence of such systems would also appear to depend on the elimination of social and political divisions (e.g. religious or ethnic) which might cross cut those based on class interest. See also CLASS CLEAVAGE, STABLE DEMOCRACY.

Two-Party System

 

a commonly accepted definition of the political system of a number of bourgeois states, in which the two leading parties in the country periodically alternate in running the government, thus serving the interests of the ruling class.

The two-party system is found in the USA (the Republican and Democratic parties), Great Britain (the Conservative Party and at first the Liberal Party, whose place was taken by the Labor Party in the 1920’s), Canada (the Liberal and the Progressive Conservative parties), and certain other countries. During election campaigns the two parties usually stage political fights without any substance. The monopoly bourgeoisie controls and directs the activity of the two parties through the official party machinery (also through bosses in the USA) and through immense financial support. (The cost of presidential campaigns in the USA reached several hundred million dollars in the 1960’s.) The two-party system does not exclude the existence of other parties. However, for a variety of reasons the other parties usually do not play a major political role. The ruling classes use the two-party system to prevent the formation of a large third party that could become a genuine spokesman of the interests of the popular masses. While the two parties have identical positions on the major questions of the government’s domestic and foreign policy, they differ somewhat in political tactics and the methods and techniques the leaders and functionaries use to attain victory over their opponents.

REFERENCES

Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol 22, pp. 199–200.
Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, pp. 192–94.

D. S. ASANOV

References in periodicals archive ?
In the market's worst-case scenario, the majority party may not be known until after January 6, when Georgia will hold its run-off election if no Senate candidate wins at least 50 per cent of the vote on November 4.
TUNIS, (TAP) - Habib Essid has been officially appointed to form the next government at the request of the majority party in parliament, Nidaa Tounes.
KARACHI -- In a counterstrike against Pakistan People's Party's (PPP) latest assault on former military ruler Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf, his party All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Sunday night said the majority party of the province was itself doing enough to destabilize the Sindh government,.
According to the Nation, in an application Orakzai alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the majority party in the National Assembly, was in contact with the Taliban even before the May 2013 general elections.
The system is now characterized by voter dissatisfaction with parties and with government and the lack of a stable majority party, leading to electoral instability, but it is also characterized by the bureaucracy being staffed by career professionals who are not beholden to the political considerations of the president and by federal courts increasing engagement in policy making in areas that were previously the bailiwick of Congress and the president.
For example, the majority party would no longer have to find 60 votes to allow a legislative proposal to be debated on the floor.
In the Senate, Democrats are fighting to keep a three-seat margin to retain their status as the majority party.
The last time the majority party in the House was unable to receive a plurality of the popular vote was in 1952, when the GOP kept the House for similar reasons.
Meeting with Suu Kyi means Obama now must play a delicate balancing act between the Democratic leader of the country, and the ruling President Thein Sein, leader of the majority party.
They''ve ousted hapless minister Nicola Murray into Opposition, taking despotic spin- doctor Malcolm Tucker with her, moved Mannion into the majority party, and created new "Lib Dem" characters with whom he reluctantly has to share power.
Totalitarian would be a fair description of Scotland's majority party.
The majority party might field a weaker candidate than the minority party.