Every party system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Just like Kabir Bedi said; “Everything has its advantages and disadvantages”. Accordingly, in my article on the merits and demerits of one-party system, i noted that no political or party system is absolutely perfect. Somehow, there is always loopholes in every system.
In light of the above, this article will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of two party system. By reading this work, you will understand the meaning, advantages and disadvantages of party system. I strongly advise that you go through this work painstakingly so that you will be able to grasp the information contained in it.
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What is a two party system or two party state?
The term “two party system” or “two party state” has different meaning for different countries. For instance, in the United States, Jamaica and Malta, it is seen as a situation where nearly all elected officials belong to one of the only two major parties and third parties rarely win any seats in the legislature.
However, in Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, two party system is seen as a system where other political parties aside from the the two major parties can win election, but the two major parties has more influence and dominance in the country.
That notwithstanding, a general definition of two party system postulates that; two party system is a type of party system where only two politial parties dominates the political offices in the country. Examples of countries like this includes: India, Latin America, Malta, United States and other Commonwealth countries.
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Advantages of two party system
Below are the Merits or advantages of two party system:
1. It encourages democracy:
Unlike a one-party state where only a single political party is legally allowed to exist in the country, two party system encourages democracy because the people can choose their leaders from any of the two major political parties. This is actually one of the major advantages of the system.
Many scholars are also of the view that two party system is better because, unlike one party system, it allows the people to participate in political decision making of their country.
2. There is no dictatorship:
There is usually no dictatorship by the government in a two party system because the people (electorates) have the power to remove and choose their leaders from any of the two major political parties. This ensures transparency, effectiveness and accountability in leadership.
In a two party system, the opposition party always serve as watchdog to the party in power. Thus, the government in power always do everything to appear good in the eyes of the people.
3. More stable government:
Two party system brings about stability in government to a very large extent. Even though there is always an opposition party in the system, it is far better than a multi party system where there are two many political parties which is likely to result in disintegration and segregation of the country into different factions.
4. Accountability and transparency:
In a two party system, there is always transparency and accountability in the government because, the people have the right and power to vote out any political party that does not represent their dreams and aspirations. Conversely, the people becomes Supreme.
Also, the principle of checks and balances in a two party system also forces the government to be transparent because if it fails to be so, the opposition party will use it against the government.
Now that you know the advantages of two party system, i will now turn to the disadvantages of this system. Below are some of the reasons why many countries has refused to adopt two party system.
Disadvantages of two party system
Below are the disadvantages or demerits of two party system:
1. It cannot be practiced in a heterogeneous country:
A heterogeneous country is one that has so many religion, ethnic and cultural groups with different political Ideology. Two party system can obviously not be practiced in this kind of country because there will not be equitable represented of all groups since only two dominant political parties exist.
This is apparently the reason why most African countries like Nigeria don’t practice two party system.
2. It divides the country into two groups:
It is true that the division of the country into two groups will bring about a more stable government than a multi party system. But it should also be noted that this can equally lead to a crisis or disintegration as there there will two different group of people in the country with different political Ideology.
3. Too expensive so operate:
Unlike a one party system where there is no wasting of government resources and money on periodic elections, two party system is very expensive because to maintain the system, elections must be conducted periodically to ensure a change of government.
4. Two party system may not totally represent the value of the people:
In a two party system, the people only have limited choice of political party to choose from. This two political parties may not have the same dreams, aspirations and value as the people. Conversely, the people will have to compromise their choice and pick any of the political parties even if they are not entirely represented.
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From our discussion so far, it is apparent that two party system is not without its own disadvantages. It is also apparent, from the above, that two party system can be best practiced in countries without two many ethnic, tribal or religious differences amongst the people. This is necessary to avoid the fear of domination by a particular tribe or religion and to ensure equitable representation in government.
Hope this article was helpful? Well, if you still have any question on this topic, I enjoin you send it using the comment section below this post. I will be glad to hear from you!