Comparative political science terms the system of government by political parties in a democratic country as a party system. Politicians are viewed as having common characteristics: they control the government, have mass popular support, and have internal mechanisms to control funding, information, and nominations.
Researchers studying the United States, especially James Bryce and Moisey Ostrogorsky, developed the concept, which has been applied to other democracies. Party systems are classified by Giovanni Sartori, who devised the method that is most widely used today. The number of relevant parties and fragmentation of party systems should be used to categorize party systems, he suggested. Depending on how many parties there are, party systems can be distinguished.
Merits of Party System
1) Favourable to Human Nature:
People are also different in their nature and behavior, just like nature. Some people are liberals, while others are not. Some of them are rebellious and revolutionary. Politicians are the only ones who can express these many different natures. Human nature suits political parties for this reason.
2) Democracies Require a Party System:
The success of democracy would be seriously undermined if there were no political parties. Participating in elections and forming governments are two ways in which political parties conduct democracy. As a result, they are the guardians of democracy.
3) An effective party system strengthens the administration:
Authority and administration are strengthened by a party system. Government is formed by majority vote in a democracy. An administration’s policy is strengthened by the unity among the members of a party. It is impossible for a government to be stable or accountable if each member works individually. As a result, administration becomes very difficult. It is for this reason that a party system becomes necessary. Pfiner asserts, “Without an organized party system, voters will lose their sting or accept such destructive policies that they will destroy administration itself.”.
4) Party System acts as a Medium of Educating People:
In order to educate the public, political parties play an important role. Using newspapers, declarations, write-ups, radio and television media, these parties educate the public and present a forum for their opinions. By doing so, the public has the opportunity to be part of creating the country’s future. According to Bryce, parties keep a country’s heart active. Before elections, ideas are exchanged, and the electoral process becomes a forum for describing and discussing problems. The purpose of political parties is to help citizens become aware of the whole country, which is nearly impossible due to a lack of time and the size of the country.
5) Party System keeps Control Over Administration:
Keeping the government under political party control curbs its freedom. A recognised opposition keeps the government’s freedom under effective check, according to Lowell. It may lead to rebellion because of this freedom. There is also a curtailment of this rebellion due to opposition parties, who are always ready to intervene when there is lack of confidence in the ruling party. In any country, political parties are the most effective way to curb the rise of dictators.
6) Creating best laws is supported by the Party System:
A government that makes laws for both the ruling party and the opposition in a country. If any faults are found with the laws presented by the ruling party, they are immediately brought to the attention of the government for correction. As a result, a state can create the best laws.
7) Public Opinion is Organised by Party Systems:
Different perspectives on problems are natural in a democracy. These differing viewpoints are centralized by political parties and presented as a unified whole. Whenever there is a problem, the public responds with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The parties thus coordinate various views and organise and publish public opinions through their efforts.
8) Party System Facilitates Discipline:
Party systems are based on organization, and discipline in an organization is a basic requirement for both the ruling party and the opposition, which increases their standing and respect. The country experiences less public upheaval if the party system is mature.
9) Party System develops National Unity:
Public opinion is always coerced in the favor of political parties. It is impossible for a party to attract public support if its outlook is narrow. As a result, parties always debate broad issues and ideas that are relevant to the nation. The purpose of political parties is to develop and maintain national unity. Burke refers to political parties as organised groups for the development of national interests.
10) Party System enhnaces Social and Cultural Growth:
Social and cultural growth of a country is always a priority for political parties. During his lifetime before entering politics, Mahatma Gandhi worked to uplift Harijans, eradicate alcoholism, ensure women’s rights, etc. They contribute to the growth of a country’s culture by establishing libraries, study centers, and speaking forums.
Demerits of Party System
1) Democracies face roadblocks because of the party system:
Politicians exploit this freedom and become roadblocks to democracy since democracy is a supporter of personal freedom. In order to be successful, a party’s members must drop their own views and support those of their party publicly. Leecock says, “Political parties finish those independent ideas that were supposedly the foundation for democracy, thus making him a part of a powerful machine.
Parliament, assemblies, and other public forms restrict not just the freedom of the general public, but also the freedom of public representatives. “I have always voted based on the party’s call and have never given thought to my own views,” Gilbert says.
2) Loss of national interests is caused by the party system:
Often, the public forgets the public interest because of the party system. It is equally imperative that members of the parties put the interests of the party first. Politics are generally shaped by party outlooks rather than by national interests. According to Marriott, growing party worship hides devotion to the country. Politicians and party managers forget national interests and priorities due to the tendency to get more votes.”
3) Ignorance of Best People in Administration:
Political party systems cause countries to lose their best citizens. The best people cannot follow politics blindly, leaving their ideas behind, because political parties select such people. This results in qualified people being ignored, and non-qualified people grabbing important administrative positions, resulting in a fall in administrative standards.
4) Most of time Party system leads to Immoral Politics:
Democracies are corrupted by party systems, and social standards are lowered. In order to attain power, post, respect, and pelf, members of a party fall down to the lowest levels. In order to gain votes, they mislead the public, tell lies and make hollow promises. The fall in morality in India today is the result of political parties distorting facts for personal gain.
5) Encouragement to Corruption:
To gain victory in elections, party members resort to unfair methods. Voter enticement includes casting bogus votes, capturing booths, capturing voters, distributing money and liquor, and enticing voters with money. Following the election, supporters receive permits, licenses, quotas, and tenders as rewards, allowing them to gain unduly. Companies contribute money to the election expenditures.
6) Encouragement to Difference:
Rather than eradicating differences, political parties encourage them and introduce a negative element into social life. In addition to the administration, different political parties are supported in villages, towns and society as a whole. There is jealousy between them, and they trade various accusations. Beni Prasad says, “Political parties extend the divisions in a society, not only between assemblies, but also between countries.” Bryce says, “Political parties divide no only assemblies, but also nations into halves.”
7) The Wastage of Time and Money:
Even small and inconsequential issues are debated endlessly in party assemblies because of the party system. If parties oppose just for the sake of opposing, time and money are wasted. Upheavals in the political system and regular elections accomplish this.
8) Lack of Favourable Laws:
A majority party controls an assembly, while a minority party controls a minority. Consequently, the ruling party frames laws in its favor, leaving the country without laws that are in its favour.
9) The Centralisation of Authority in Political Parties:
Power and authority are concentrated in the hands of a few powerful and wealthy individuals even in political parties. Parties and their supporters are controlled and conducted by these people.
10) Distribution of Misleading Political Education:
In actuality, political parties do not deliver public education as well as they should. By distorting facts, using flowery language, and making hollow promises, they try to fool the public. Falsehoods are presented as cardinal truths and vice versa.
Democracies cannot exist without political parties, regardless of their demerits. Democracies are like thorns in a bouquet of flowers, and though these thorns must be tolerated, the success of democracies depends on them. Democracies must be made successful by removing their faults.
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