Advantages and disadvantages of multi party system: Multi-party system is a political system in which more than two political parties are allowed to exist and compete for gaining of political power and governing the country. This type of party system is an extension of a two-party system as one party seldom wins a clear cut majority of seats in the parliament to enable it form the government. The inability of one party to win a clear cut majority of seats in the parliament leads to the formation of a coalition government. That is, a government formed by two or more parties that come together as a result of the inability of non of the existing parties to win a clear cut majority seats in the parliament.
Multi party system demands a high degree of political maturity, a culture of tolerance and understanding a high standard of political discipline. It is indeed advantageous and that is why countries like: Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Nigeria, India and Zimbabwe practices it till today.
Nonetheless, multi party system also has it disadvantages too. The arguments against the system contributes to the reasons why most countries prefer a one party or two party system to a multi party system. In this article, we will be looking at the advantage (Merits) and disadvantages (demerits) of a multi party system. But before that, it is also imperative to know the characteristics or features of this system.
Characteristics of Multi party system
1. Decision making process involves wider representation of diverse opinions and interests.
2. It enhances regular and periodic elections for change of government.
3. Usually, it leads to the formation of a coalition government because it is difficult for a single political party to form or control the government.
4. It prevents dictatorship.
5. Abundant choice of Programmes and political parties are ensured.
6. It widens and enhances further scope of political education.
For further explanation of multi party system, i highly recommended you to watch the video below!
Merits or advantages of multi party system
1. It gives room for democracy: Democracy is a type of government in which the people rules. It is a government that considers the choices and opinions of the people. Since Multi party system gives room for people to elect their leaders from any political party of their choice, it therefore encourages democracy too.
2. Allows more shades of opinion: Multi party system allows for more shades of opinion in the parliament which augurs well for the country. The existence of many political parties makes it possible for more persons to represent the people in the parliament.
3. Provision of wider choice: Unlike a one party or two party state, multi party system provides the electorate wider range of choice of political parties.
4. Prevents the emergence of a dictators: Another advantage of one party system is that, it prevents the emergence of a dictator. No single party in a multi party system is strong enough to encourage the emergence of a dictator. They all compete to win the trust of the electorates.
5. Widens political education: In my article on the differences between political party and pressure group, I noted that political parties helps to give political education to the masses who don’t know their political rights. Consequently, in a multi party system, the scope of political education the electorate receives tends to widen with the existence of many political parties in the system.
6. Guarantees smooth change in government: Multi party system is not like a one party system where one political party rules the country for an unlimited number of years. It is easier to change any government that allienates itself from the people in a multi-party system.
7. It permits human rights: Multi party system allows the citizens of a country to exercise their fundamental human rights of political association rather than being thrown into political bondage in a plone party system and provides avenue for freedom of speech.
8. Permits a wide range of ideology: Ideology is like the backbone of every political party because it highlights what that political party wants to achieve. Unlike one-party system in which only one ideology is permitted, multi-party system allows for a wide range of ideologies. Thus, the masses can choose from any political party that fits their aspirations and desires.
Demerits or Disadvantages of multi party system
1. Waste of resources: Using Nigeria as a case study, multi party system usually lead to waste of government resources. The much needed human and material resources which would have been directed towards the urgent task of national development are wasted into unprofitable political rivalry.
2. It is expensive to run: Unlike one party system, multi-party system tends to the too expensive to maintain more than two parties and their paraphernalia. Aside from that, the cost of conducting elections for the political parties can be terrifying sometimes.
3. Leads to unhealthy rivalry: Multi party system usually lead to political crisis and dispute amongst citizens in the country. This unhealthy rivalries results in oppression, suppression and detention of leaders of the opposition parties.
4. It encourages corruption in the parliament: It has also been argued that multi party system promotes corruption among members of the parliament during the passing of bills. The inability to the ruling of the party to win a clear cut majority in the parliament in a multi party system gives room to bribery and Corruption in order to pass a bill.
5. Election violence: Election violence is a common occurrence in a multi party system. This is so because the existence of many political parties in a multi party system and the competitions that go with it exposes the country to all forms of election malpractice like rigging.
6. It may lead to national disintegration: Due to the different political ideologies which the people have, there is usually a national disintegration. Multi party system act as powerful instruments for disintegrating the people and tends to emphasise the religious and ethnic differences of the people.
7. It is unafrican: Multi party system is not in line with African traditional political system in which there is no concept in institutionalized opposition within the political community.
8. Leads to political instability: The unhealthy rivalry, frequent political re-alignment and coalition makes government of a country to the weak and unstable. It can also damage the name of the government internationally and decrease the prestige of the country.
Also see: Why lawyers put on wigs even till today
So far, we have discussed the meaning, features/Characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of multi party system. I believe that by reading this article, you now understand why some countries practice multi party system and why some countries does not. Meanwhile, you can leave your comments and contributions below.