Advantages and Disadvantages of One-party System

Advantages and Disadvantages of one-party System: One-party system (also known single party state or single party system) is a political system where there is only one political party in a country/state. Proponents of this system are of the view that; it is not good to have two or more political parties in a state as that can lead to power struggle and political instability in the nation. This happens to be one of the major advantages one-party system has over other type of party system.

It should be noted, however, that one party system is not a perfect system of government because it has its own disadvantages or demerits as well. Conversely, in this article, we will be looking at the both the advantages and disadvantages of one party system.

Trust me; if you have been searching the internet for a comprehensive article on this topic, this is the best. But before moving to the crux of this work, i would like to clearly explain what a one party state is all about.

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What is one-party system?

A Single-party states or One-party system is a political system in which only one political party controls the affairs of the government. In this kind of system there is no democracy or rule of laws because powers are concentrated in the hands one person or group of people. Accordingly to, some of examples of countries that still practice this political system includes: North Korea, Cuba, China etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of one-party system
Advantages and disadvantages of one-party system

It is worthwhile to also note that in a one-party state, any other political party, aside from the pre-existing political party that is created, is deemed to be a breach of the law, except where the law provides that they are to take limited participation in elections. Conversely, the dominant political parties is usually referred to as “de facto one-party state”.

Characteristics of one party system

1. Only one political party is constitutionally recognized and allowed to exist.

2. There is no official opposition party.

3. The legal and constitutionally recognized party is the ruling party.

4. Election is conducted by one political party.

5. Any attempt to form or join any other political party is regarded as an act of treason.

6. There is limited scope of political education.

7. One party system and state tend to have strong and dedicated leadership.

8. There is only one political ideology because only one political party exist.

For more explanation of a one party system kindly watch the video below:

Also read: See the Features of democracy you should know

Merits or Advantages of one party system

1. It brings about a stable government: This is the major advantage of one party system. It usually bring about stability in government because there is usually no power struggle between too many political parties just for the sake of controlling the government.

Another reason why one-party system seems to promote stability in government is because the country is totally under the control of a single person or group of people. Thus, there is no opposition in government that can likely lead to crisis.

2. It is less expensive: Unlike countries that have more than one political party, one-party system is less expensive because there is no need for conducting periodic elections into political offices.

This is one of the major advantages of one-party system because, in most countries of practicing two or multi party system, too much money are usually spent on conducting elections. Most times, even the elections conducted in two/multi party states does not even bring about good leadership.

For this reason, apostles of one-party system are of the view that a one-party state is better than other types of party system.

3. Easy and faster decision making: Another advantage of one-party system/single-party system is the fact that it allows for easy and fast decision making. This is so because there is no opposition in the government. Usually, when decisions are made in a country practicing one-party system, the requirement of consultation or discussion is not required.

In light of the above, it seem that a one-party system will be best where there is need for the government to make quick decisions on matters that concerns the country.

4. Effective and rapid implementation of government policies: There is also a faster and quicker implementation of government policy in a one-party system because the government has the total power to do whatever it thinks is right for the country.

Conversely, when the government makes decisions or policies that concerns the masses in a one-party state, theses decisions and policies are rapidly implemented. It is indeed one of the major advantages of one party state.

5. There is no waste of resources: Another advantage of a one-party system is that, it helps to avoid unnecessary waste of the country’s resources on campaigns, elections and other things that usually consume the resources of the country in a two or multi party system.

Thus, instead of wasting resources on campaigns for election, one-party system postulates that those resources should be used to contribute to the grow that development of the whole nation.

6. National Integration: The protagonists of One party system argue that is acts as a powerful instrument for national integration and a unifying factor, especially in a culturally and complex political system. This is because, one-party system unlike multi-party and two-party system, tend to de-emphasized the religious and ethnic differences of the people.

7. Absence of Sectionalism and Favoritism: In a one party system, no area or section of the country is marked out for victimization or to be favoured for not voting or voting for the party in power since everybody in the country belongs to the ruling.

8. It suits our level of political maturity: Finally, the protagonists of a one party system argue that multi-party and two-party systems demand a height of political maturity, a culture of tolerance and understanding and a high standard of political discipline which are lacking in developing political system like West Africa.

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Demerits or Disadvantages of one-party system

1. It may lead to dictatorship by the government: A dictator is a leader that has absolute authority in any sphere. He does not tolerate opposition or plurality of government. This is one of the characteristics of a one-party system, and it is a disadvantage of the system.

In a dictatorship, the rights and liberty of the people are usually trampled upon without any remedy because only one person or group of people has control over the whole state. Conversely, there is no supremacy of the law but supremacy of the leaders.

2. It is undemocratic: Accordingly to Abraham Lincoln, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people“. Based on this, it can be inferred that one of the tenets of democracy is the participation of the people in the activities of their country.

But this is apparently not so in a one-party system state because the people are not allowed to elect their leaders. So, whether it is the choice of the people or not, they must accept any leader that is imposed on them.

3. It is more susceptible to corruption: Undoubtedly, one-party system is more susceptible to corruption in government because political powers of the country are concentrated in the hand of one person or group of persons. If the government decides to partake in any corrupt practice, there will be nobody or authority to question the government.

This is a very significant disadvantage of the system because the unquestionable powers of the leader will definitely make it corrupt. As Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries said; “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

4. It does not represent the aspirations of the people: Another demerit of one-party system is that; it does not represent the dreams and aspirations of the people. Put in a different way, the government in a one party system does not always care more about the farewell or interest of the people but their personal interest.

It is usually difficult to see a government that cares more about the masses in a one-party state because every government will always want to abuse the power it has. This is currently the situation in most of the one-party states in the world.

5. Absence of Watchdog of Government: Vaible opposition parties that acts as watchdogs of the people to the government, that subject governmental policies, programmes and actions to continuous criticism which seek to improve the performance of the government are absent in one party system. As a result of this, government tends to become slack, complacent and even corrupt.


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From our discussion so far, it is apparent that one-party system or one-party state is not a perfect system. It has numerous advantages (merits) and disadvantages (demerits), which means that, except it is practiced in the best situation, it can lead to a total mess.

Take for instance, China, a well known one-party state is currently led by the Communist Party of China, which is the only political party in the country. According, the Communist Party of Cuba is the only political party in the Republic of Cuba. They practice this system because it works well for them.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Zoya

    This is helpful information as i am doing a paper on this, but how do i cite this article

  2. Alex

    Hello. I’m a columnist for a leading newspaper in my country, Swaziland. Our country is effectively a one party state, ruled by a king who was given absolute power by our Constitution. There’s so many problems in governance which is embroiled in lack of adherence to some sections of human rights availed in the Constitution. Human rights like freedom of expression, assembly, press freedom, etc., are at times violated.
    Corruption is very prevalent and has derailed progress, immensely in the country. There are many ills affecting development like nepotism, cronyism, which had greatly affected development.
    People had long been calling for more than one party to act as a watchdog to the ruling party.
    I’m planning to write an article to compare advantages and disadvantages of a one party system. I’d love your permission to use some sections of this article as source.

  3. Mariam Kamara


  4. lawrencia

    wow…… a very educative piece

  5. Osei Boniface

    Wow a very good and serious experience

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