A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system is a political occurrence in which a single political party continuously dominates election results over running opposition groups or parties. Any ruling party staying in power for more than one consecutive term may be considered a dominant (also referred to as predominant or hegemonic) party.
Between 1950 and 2017, more than 130 countries were included in the list of dominant-party systems, i.e., almost every state in the world on national, sub-national and district levels, both democratic and authoritarian.
Critics of the "dominant party" theory argue that it views the meaning of democracy as given, and that it assumes that only a particular conception of representative democracy (in which different parties alternate frequently in power) is valid. Raymond Suttner, himself a former leader of the African National Congress (ANC), argues that "the dominant party 'system' is deeply flawed as a mode of analysis and lacks explanatory capacity. But it is also a very conservative approach to politics. Its fundamental political assumptions are restricted to one form of democracy, electoral politics and hostile to popular politics. This is manifest in the obsession with the quality of electoral opposition and its sidelining or ignoring of popular political activity organised in other ways. The assumption in this approach is that other forms of organisation and opposition are of limited importance or a separate matter from the consolidation of their version of democracy."
One of the dangers of dominant parties is "the tendency of dominant parties to conflate party and state and to appoint party officials to senior positions irrespective of their having the required qualities." However, in some countries this is common practice even when there is no dominant party. In contrast to one-party systems, dominant-party systems can occur within a context of a democratic system. In a one-party system other parties are banned, but in dominant-party systems other political parties are tolerated, and (in democratic dominant-party systems) operate without overt legal impediment, but do not have a realistic chance of winning; the dominant party genuinely wins the votes of the vast majority of voters every time (or, in authoritarian systems, claims to). Under authoritarian dominant-party systems, which may be referred to as "electoralism" or "soft authoritarianism", opposition parties are legally allowed to operate, but are too weak or ineffective to seriously challenge power, perhaps through various forms of corruption, constitutional quirks that intentionally undermine the ability for an effective opposition to thrive, institutional and/or organizational conventions that support the status quo, occasional but not omnipresent political repression, or inherent cultural values averse to change.
In some states opposition parties are subject to varying degrees of official harassment and most often deal with restrictions on free speech (such as press laws), lawsuits against the opposition, and rules or electoral systems (such as gerrymandering of electoral districts) designed to put them at a disadvantage. In some cases outright electoral fraud keeps the opposition from power. On the other hand, some dominant-party systems occur, at least temporarily, in countries that are widely seen, both by their citizens and outside observers, to be textbook examples of democracy. An example of a genuine democratic dominant-party system would be the pre-Emergency India, which was almost universally viewed by all as being a democratic state, even though the only major national party at that time was the Indian National Congress. The reasons why a dominant-party system may form in such a country are often debated: supporters of the dominant party tend to argue that their party is simply doing a good job in government and the opposition continuously proposes unrealistic or unpopular changes, while supporters of the opposition tend to argue that the electoral system disfavors them (for example because it is based on the principle of first past the post), or that the dominant party receives a disproportionate amount of funding from various sources and is therefore able to mount more persuasive campaigns. In states with ethnic issues, one party may be seen as being the party for an ethnicity or race with the party for the majority ethnic, racial or religious group dominating, e.g., the African National Congress in South Africa (governing since 1994) has strong support amongst Black South Africans and the Ulster Unionist Party governed Northern Ireland from its creation in 1921 until 1972 with the support of the Protestant majority.
Sub-national entities are often dominated by one party due to the area's demographic being on one end of the spectrum. For example, the current elected government of the District of Columbia has been governed by Democrats since its creation in the 1970s, Bavaria by the Christian Social Union since 1957, Madeira by the Social Democrats since 1976, and Alberta by Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015. On the other hand, where the dominant party rules nationally on a genuinely democratic basis, the opposition may be strong in one or more subnational areas, possibly even constituting a dominant party locally; an example is South Africa, where although the African National Congress is dominant at the national level, the opposition Democratic Alliance is strong to dominant in the Province of Western Cape.
Current dominant-party systems
- Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA): In power since independence, November 11, 1975; sole legal party, 1975–91
- Formerly led by President José Eduardo dos Santos (in office from September 10, 1979, to August 28, 2017) and now led by João Lourenço.
- Presidential election, 1992: dos Santos (MPLA-PT) won 49.6% of the vote. As this was not an absolute majority, a runoff against Jonas Savimbi (40.1%) was required, but did not take place. Dos Santos remained in office without democratic legitimacy.
- New constitution, 2010: popular election of president abolished in favour of a rule that the top candidate of the most voted party in parliamentary elections becomes president.
- Parliamentary election, 2017: MPLA 61.11% and 150 of 220 seats.
- Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (Rassemblement Démocratique et Populaire du Cameroun, RDPC): Led by President Paul Biya, in office since November 6, 1982
- In power, under various names, since independence, January 1, 1960 (Sole legal party, 1966–1990)
- Presidential election, 2018: Paul Biya (RDPC) 71.28%
- Parliamentary election, 2020: RDPC 139 of 180 seats
- Republic of the Congo
- Congolese Party of Labour (Parti Congolais du Travail, PCT): Led by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, in office from February 8, 1979, to August 31, 1992, and since October 15, 1997
- In power, under various names, from 1969 to 1992 and since 1997 (Sole legal party, 1963–1990)
- Parliamentary election, 2017: PCT 90 of 139 seats
- Presidential election, 2016: Denis Sassou-Nguesso (PCT) 60.19%
- Equatorial Guinea
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM): Led by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, in office since March 19, 2021
- In power, under various names, since independence, December 9, 1961 (Sole legal party, 1964–1992)
- Civic election, 2014: CCM 74.50%
- Presidential election, 2015: John Magufuli (CCM) 58.46%
- Parliamentary election, 2015: CCM 252 of 367 seats
- Western Sahara
- Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF): Formerly led by President Robert Mugabe, in office from April 18, 1980, to November 21, 2017 (as president since December 31, 1987) and now led by Emmerson Mnangagwa since November 24, 2017. In power since independence, April 17, 1980
- Presidential election, 2018: Emmerson Mnangagwa (ZANU-PF) 50.8%
- House of Assembly election, 2018: ZANU-PF 179 of 270 elective seats
- Senate election, 2018: ZANU-PF 43.8% and won 34 of 80 elective seats
Canada's lower house, the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, is a multi-party system. Multiple political parties are represented, however every federal election since WWII has seen in essence only two federal parties win enough seats to form a government: the Liberal Party, and various iterations of a conservative party including the now defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the newly formed Conservative Party, which governed from 2006 to 2015.
With the emergence and strengthening of regional, and other non-traditional parties such as the Bloc Québécois following the Meech Lake Accord and the New Democratic Party, which have both served as the Official Opposition, both the Liberal and Conservative Party have relied on unofficial support from these smaller parties when in Minority Governments.
The Liberal Party of Canada has nonetheless been dominant in federal politics of Canada since its founding. So much so, that critics and academics alike have sometimes described the Liberal Party as "Canada's natural governing party".
As of 2020, the Liberal Party of Canada has governed for 83 of the past 120 years. Canada's 23rd Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has been the 13th Liberal to serve as Prime Minister.
The party ruled between 1935 and 1984 (the only exceptions being in 1957–1963 and 1979–1980), as well as 1896–1911, 1921–1930 (except a few months), and 1993–2006. In early 2006, the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada were elected, governing until 2015.
After a nearly a decade in opposition, the Liberals returned to power following the 2015 election and were subsequently re-elected in the 2019 election.
- Alberta has been predominantly ruled by conservative parties since 1971. From 1971 to 2015, the ruling party was the Progressive Conservative Party. In the 2015 election, a split creating the Wildrose Party led to a one-off NDP led government due to the First Past the Post electoral system despite both right wing parties between them having a far bigger share of the vote. The Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties reconciled to form the United Conservative Party of Alberta, restoring the conservatives' dominant position and governing from 2019 to present.
- Saskatchewan has seen the Saskatchewan Party win four consecutive elections in 2007, 2011, 2016, and 2020; with a majority government secured for the party in each of them. The Saskatchewan Party won 51 of the 61 seats in the 2016 election.
As a whole, the US has a two-party system, with the main parties since the mid-19th century being Democratic Party and the Republican Party. However, some states and cities have been dominated by one of these parties for up to several decades, and during the 20th century, Democrats dominated Congress for 60 years.
Some parts of the US have differing party systems and third-party representation. Most notably the two main parties in Puerto Rico (home to 3 million Americans) are the New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party, with 3 minor parties represented after the 2020 election.
Dominant-party systems can also exist on Indian Reservations. The Seneca Nation of Indians, a tribe with territory within the bounds of New York, has had the Seneca Party as the dominant party in its political system for several decades.
For 62 years from 1933 until 1995, the United States Congress was dominated by the Democratic Party. During this period, Republicans only held a majority in the House of Representatives for a total of 4 years: 1947–49 and 1953–55. In the Senate, Republicans held a majority for a total of 10 years: 1947–49, 1953–55 and 1981–87. This was largely due to the enduring popularity of the New Deal introduced by the Democratic Party during the Great Depression, and supported by the New Deal Coalition – a broad coalition of many different types of voters who all supported the Democratic Party's economic policies. The New Deal Coalition fractured in the mid-1960s and by the mid-1990s the Democrats had lost control of Congress.
Gerrymandering has also been a feature of politics for the House of Representatives, allowing parties to sometimes retain or gain a majority of seats, even when losing the popular vote nationally.
Following the 2020 elections, Democrats retained their majority in the House, although with reduced seats. After winning two runoff elections in the state of Georgia they got an effective 50/50 tie in the Senate (counting two independents who caucus with the Democrats). This meant the Vice President (Kamala Harris, a Democrat) was allowed to cast a vote as a tie-breaker, in the event of a 50–50 tie.
No party has dominated the Presidency since the end of the First Party System in the 1820s. The Democratic-Republican party controlled the Presidency for the longest period (24 years from 1801 until it splintered during and after the election of 1824), and its presidential candidate faced no organized opposition in 1820. Since then no party has had their candidates control the Presidency for more than 20 years in a row (the Democratic Party from 1933 to 1953), and since 1953 no party has controlled the presidency for more than 12 years in a row (the Republican Party from 1981 to 1993). The longest-serving President was Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt who served three consecutive terms from 1933 to 1945. Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term but died two months after inauguration. In 1951, the U.S. ratified the 22nd Amendment which limits a person to two full terms as President, but does not prevent candidates from one party from dominating the Presidency by winning consecutive elections.
The US uses an Electoral College system to elect its President, where votes in low population states have more weight. As a result, it's possible to win the Presidential election while another candidate wins more votes, nationally. In 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016, a Republican candidate won the election and became President, while a Democrat received more votes.
Southern United States
Historically, the Southern United States was dominated by the Democratic Party, and in particular sub-factions called the Southern Democrats and Solid South. This began prior to the American Civil War but was especially from the end of the Reconstruction Era in 1877 to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Southern Democrats originally supported the enslavement of black Americans, then after the American Civil War and Reconstruction, supported Jim Crow laws designed to heavily oppress and politically disenfranchise millions of black Americans.
In the 1960s, northern Democrats, including President Lyndon B. Johnson and his predecessor John F. Kennedy, supported the civil rights movement and passage of the Civil Rights Act, which alienated the Southern Democrats. Later, the Republican Party developed the southern strategy to gain support among the newly disaffected Southern voters, by appealing to racism against black Americans. This led to the South eventually becoming dominated overall by the Republican Party towards the end of the 20th century and into the 21st.
In the 21st century, there is increasingly an urban-rural split where large urban areas tend to be dominated by Democrats and rural areas tend to be dominated by Republicans. This tends to hold true despite the overall leanings of the state or territory. That is, rural areas tend to vote Republican even in otherwise Democrat-dominated states, while urban areas tend to vote Democrat even in Republican-dominated states. This trend is increasing over time, with rural areas growing more heavily Republican, and inner city areas growing more heavily Democratic.
Red and blue states
Some states have been dominated by a single party for a long period of time. States which have a long record of being dominated by one party are often called red or blue states, after the colour representing their dominant party (red for Republicans, blue for Democrats). Some states lie in the middle, not being heavily dominated by either party. States where elections are especially close, are often termed "purple."
Following the 2018 and 2020 elections, the Republican Party continued to hold a majority of state legislatures and a majority of governorships.
Dominated by the Democratic Party:
- California had Republican governors as late as 2011 (except 1975–1983 and 1999–2003) but has voted for Democrats in national races and has a legislature dominated by the Democrats since the 1990s. Due to the top two primary election, many statewide and local races are contested by two members of the Democratic Party in the general election. State Legislatures are controlled by the Democrats since 1970 (except 1994–1996).
- District of Columbia has been continuously governed by Democrats since the Home Rule Act of 1973 was passed.
- Hawaii has been dominated by Democrats since the Democratic Revolution of 1954. Beforehand, the then-Territory of Hawaii was dominated by Republicans and a sugar oligarchy.
- Illinois has been governed under a Democratic super-majority in both houses of the legislature and the governorship since the 2018 elections. Chicago, has been historically dominated by the Cook County Democratic Party – the office of mayor has been filled by a Democrat continuously since 1931. However, outside of the Chicago Metropolitan area, The Republican Party tends to dominate on most every level.
- New York has an overwhelmingly Democratic population. Democrats have controlled all statewide offices since 2006 (not counting the governor, a Republican was last elected statewide in 2002).
- Oregon, while once a heavily Republican state, has had only one Republican governor since 1975, has voted Democrat in every Presidential election since 1988, and had no Republican statewide elected officials from 2002 until the election of Dennis Richardson as Oregon Secretary of State in 2016.
- Massachusetts has been dominated by Democrats for several decades; however, there have been a number of Republican governors including the current governor Charlie Baker.
- Maryland has been dominated by Democrats since the Civil War, with some exceptions.
- Virginia, while once considered a purple state, has increasingly shifted towards the Democrats over the course of the 2010s. A Republican has not been elected to statewide office since 2010, and Virginia has not voted for the Republican presidential ticket since 2004. Both of the state's senators have been Democrats since 2009, and as of 2020 Democrats control both houses of the state legislature.
- Washington, in a manner similar to Oregon, has not had a Republican governor since 1985.
Dominated by the Republican Party:
- Alabama: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Idaho has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with no Democratic governors since 1994 and only two years in which the State Senate was tied evenly since 1960.
- Kansas has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with only four years of Democratic majorities in the State House of Representatives since 1915 and only Republican majorities in the same period. Since 1967, however, five of the last nine governors have been Democrats, although one of these Democrats only held office for two years.
- Louisiana is dominated by the Republicans. New Orleans, however, has been dominated by the Democratic Party since the 19th century.
- Mississippi: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Nebraska has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with a non-partisan legislature (where a de facto Republican majority has held since records began in 2007), mostly Republican governors and elected cabinet officials and only one Republican who changed party to Democrat in 2006 holding state-level partisan office since 1999.
- South Carolina: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- South Dakota has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, aside from a few Democratic and Populist governments and coalitions with Republicans, with only three elected high officials and two years of State Senate dominance since 1979.
- Texas: dominated by Republicans since the mid-1990s.
- Utah has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, except for Democratic dominance during the Fifth Party System and between 1917 and 1920, the 1890s, and between 1959 and 1984.
- Wyoming has been dominated by Republicans for most of its existence, with only four years where a house of the legislature has been Democratic since 1939, and mostly Republican governors during that period.
Asia and Oceania
Formerly dominant parties
- British Columbia: The Social Credit Party held power for all but 3 years between 1952 and 1991, winning 11 of the 12 elections held during this 39-year period.
- Alberta: The Social Credit Party governed Alberta from 1935 to 1971; her sister party won the majority of all seats in Alberta in all federal elections between 1935 and 1945, except for 1940, and the Alberta PC Party held power from 1971 to 2015.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador held power from confederation in 1949 until Joey Smallwood's resignation as Premier in 1972 during the hung Parliament created by the 1971 Newfoundland general election.
- Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Liberal Party, in the Province of Nova Scotia, held office in an unbroken period from 1882 to 1925. During the period from 1867 to 1956, the party was in power for 76 of 89 years, most of that time with fewer than 5 opposition members.
- Ontario: Ontario's party system was once a dominant party system, with the Liberal Party of Ontario being the only political party to form government from 1871 to 1905; and having won the majority of the seats available in all twelve elections from 1871 to 1902. The turn of the 20th century saw a shift in party dominance from the Liberal Party of Ontario to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario,[note 4] with the latter winning 22 of the 28 elections held in the 20th century. From 1943 to 1985, the Progressive Conservatives won 13 consecutive elections, forming the provincial government for 42 years. From 1945 to 1985, the party governed an uninterrupted majority government, with the party's dominance in that era referred to as the "Big Blue Machine". Although the Progressive Conservatives won the most seats in the 1985 election, the party was unable to form government for the first time in 42 years, with the Liberal Party forming a minority government with a confidence and supply arrangement with the New Democratic Party.
- Quebec: The Union Nationale, in the Province of Quebec, held office uninterrupted from 1944 until 1960 with Quiet revolution. And nearly with the Quebec Liberal Party throughout province's political history with start from 1897 to 1935, then a second time in 1985 and 1989, and lastly third time in 2003 to 2018 with a short interruption of 2 years when the Parti Québécois won a minority government from 2012 to 2014.
- United States:
- During the "Era of Good Feelings," the Democratic-Republican Party dominated national politics with no effective opposition from the Federalist Party or any third parties, allowing James Monroe to run unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. This dominance continued until the rise of the American Whig Party circa 1830.
- From 1933 to 1995, the Democratic Party held a majority in both Houses of Congress except 1947 to 1949, 1953 to 1955 which Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and 1981 to 1987 which Republicans controlled the Senate.
- New England:
- New Hampshire had mostly Republican governors from 1857 to 1997 (140 years) – Republicans held the governorship for all but 15 years (were only twice out of office for more than two consecutive years)
- Vermont had only Republican governors from 1855 to 1963 (108 years)
- Southern United States:
- The South (usually defined as coextensive with the former Confederacy) was known until the era of the 1990s as the "Solid South" due to its states' reliable support the Democratic Party, which at that time had a strong liberal wing. Several states had an unbroken succession of Democratic governors for half a century to over a century.
- Alabama, 1874–1987 (113 years)
- Arkansas, 1874–1967 (93 years)
- Florida, 1877–1967 (90 years)
- Georgia, 1872–2003 (131 years)
- Louisiana, 1877–1980 (103 years)
- Mississippi, 1876–1992 (116 years)
- North Carolina, 1901–1973 (72 years)
- Oklahoma, 1907–1963 (56 years)
- South Carolina, 1876–1975 (99 years)
- Tennessee, 1883–1971 (88 years), with two interruptions
- Texas, 1874–1979 (105 years)
- Virginia, 1869–1970 (101 years)
Caribbean and Central America
- Armenia: The Republican Party of Armenia from 1999 to 2018, which after the 2018 Armenian revolution and the 2018 parliamentary election lost all its seats.
- Austria: the Austrian People's Party ruled as the dominant governing coalition leader from 1945 to 1970, and the Social Democratic Party of Austria under similar arrangement from 1970 to 2000.
- Belgium: Catholic Party sent Prime Ministers from 1884 to 1937. the Catholic People's Party sent Prime Ministers from 1979 to 1999.
- Croatia: The Croatian Democratic Union was in power from the first multi-party elections in 1990, when Croatia was still a constituent republic of SFR Yugoslavia, until it lost parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000. For most of the 1990s, the party had an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Counties, while its chairman, Franjo Tuđman, was President of Croatia under a de facto superpresidential system of government until his death in 1999.
- Denmark: The National Landowners, and later the Højre, ruled Denmark from 1874 to 1901.
- Finland: the Agrarian League, later the Centre Party dominated the Presidency under Urho Kekkonen from 1956 to 1982.
- Georgia: The Union of Citizens of Georgia was the Dominant political force from its establishment in 1995 to its dissolution and overthrow in 2003, in the Rose Revolution during which Party leader, President Eduard Shevardnadze was ousted. in the following elections, the United National Movement won a Supermajority in Parliament, and its Leader Mikheil Saakashvili won the presidency with 96.0% of the vote, The party won every national election until the 2012 Parliamentary election during which it was defeated by the Georgian Dream Coalition. Mikheil Saakashvili was reelected in 2008, and served until 2013. 1995–2012
- Germany: the Christian Democratic Union ruled West Germany from its establishment in 1949 to 1969.
- Ireland: Ireland's Fianna Fáil was the largest party in Dáil Éireann between 1932 and 2011 and in power for 61 of those 79 years. However, the party were heavily defeated in the 2011 Irish general election, coming third.
- Italy: Italy's Christian Democracy dominated the Italian politics for almost 50 years as the major party in every coalition that governed the country from 1944 until its demise amid a welter of corruption allegations in 1992–1994. The main opposition to the Christian democratic governments was the Italian Communist Party.
- Liechtenstein: Progressive Citizen's Party governed from 1928 to 1970.
- Luxembourg: The Christian Social People's Party (CSV), with its predecessor Party of the Right, governed Luxembourg continuously since 1915 until 2013, except for 1974–1979. However, Luxembourg has a coalition system, and the CSV has been in coalition with at least one of the two next two leading parties for all but four years. It has always won a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections, although it lost the popular vote in 1964 and 1974.
- Malta : The Nationalist Party dominated the Maltese political scene from 1988 to 2013, when the Labour Party won the government in the General Election.
- Monaco: Rally & Issues governed the National Assembly from 1962 to 2003.
- Montenegro: The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) has ruled Montenegro since 1990 to 2020, recently defeated in the 2020 election.
- Norway: The Norwegian Labour Party ruling from 1935 to 1963 (including the 5 years of Government-in-exile during World War II), though it has been the biggest party in Norway since 1927 and has been in power many other times.
- Portugal: The Portuguese Republican Party, during most of the Portuguese First Republic's existence (1910–1926): After the coup that put an end to Portugal's constitutional monarchy in 1910, the electoral system, which had always ensured victory to the party in government, was left unchanged. Before 1910, it had been the reigning monarch's responsibility to ensure that no one party remain too long in government, usually by disbanding Parliament and calling for new elections. The republic's constitution added no such proviso, and the Portuguese Republican Party was able to keep the other minor republican parties (monarchic parties had been declared illegal) from winning elections. On the rare occasions when it was ousted from power, it was overthrown by force and was again by the means of a counter-coup that it returned to power, until its final fall, with the republic itself, in 1926.
- Switzerland: From 1848 to 1891, the Free Democratic Party hold all seven seats of the Federal Council, thus having full control of the Swiss Directorial Government.
- Sweden: The Swedish Social Democratic Party in Sweden from 1932 to 2006 except only for some months in 1936 (1936–1939 and 1951–1957 in coalition with the Farmers' League, 1939–1945 at the head of a government of national unity), 1976–1982 and 1991–1994. The party is still the largest party in Sweden and has been so in every general election since 1917 (hence the largest party even before the universal suffrage was introduced in 1921). The former Prime minister and party leader Tage Erlander led the Swedish government for an uninterrupted tenure of 23 years (1946–1969), the longest in any democracy so far. Since 2006 the party support has declined, but in 2014 it returned to government but its led centre-left coalition without majority.
- Turkey: In Turkey's single-party period, the Republican People's Party became the major political organisation of a single-party state. However, CHP faced two opposition parties during this period, both established upon the request of the founder of Turkey and CHP leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in efforts to allegedly jump-start multiparty democracy in Turkey. AKP has been the dominant party a few times in a fluctuating manner throughout the years since it came to power in 2002. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party[note 5] was the dominant party in the mainly Kurdish southeast from 1991 until the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt which resulted in massive purges and the takeover of municipalities by the state.
- United Kingdom:
- The Conservative and Unionist Party held power alone or as the largest coalition partner from 1916 to 1923, from 1924 to 1929, from 1931 to 1945, from 1951 to 1964, from 1970 to 1974, from 1979 to 1997 and from 2010 to present.
- Its predecessor, Tories, governed from 1783 to 1806, and 1807 to 1830.
- The Whigs dominated United Kingdom politics from 1714 to 1762 during the Whig supremacy.
- SFR Yugoslavia: League of Communists of Yugoslavia from 1944/1945 until the party's dissolution in 1990.
- FR Yugoslavia: The Socialist Party of Serbia from 1992 to 2000.
- Philippines: The Nacionalista Party in the Philippines was the dominant party during various times in the nation's history from 1916–1941, and on 1945. From 1978 to 1986 Kilusang Bagong Lipunan operated as a dominant party.
- India: The Indian National Congress held power both at the union and at many states from its Independence in 1947 to 1977, and from 1980 to 1989. It formed minority governments from 1991 to 1996, and from 2004 to 2014.
- Bangladesh: In Bangladesh, the Awami League was the country's predominant political party between 1972 and 1975 and from 2009 to present. After the military coup of 1975, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) became the dominant political force between 1977 and 1982. Under the autocratic regime of General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the Jatiya Party was the dominant party between 1986 and 1990. Currently, Bangladesh Awami League again has become the dominant political force since 2008.
- Cambodia: The Democratic Party was the dominant party in Cambodia from 1946 to 1955, The Sangkum in Cambodia was the dominant party under Prince Norodom Sihanouk as head of government from 1955 to 1970. Under the Khmer Republic the Social Republican Party was the dominant party under General Lon Nol from 1972 to 1975.
- Burma: The Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League in Burma (now Myanmar) from 1948 to 1962. The Union Solidarity and Development Party from 2011 to 2016 (as a military junta from 1988 to 2011).
- Republic of China: The Kuomintang established a de facto one-party state in the Republic of China on the mainland and subsequently on Taiwan until political liberalization and the lifting of martial law in the late 1980s. The Kuomintang continued to dominate the political system until the victory of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in the 2000 presidential election. Kuomintang maintained control of the Legislative Yuan until 2016.
- South Korea: Conservative parties: Liberal Party (South Korea) in power 1948–1960, Democratic Republican Party (South Korea) in power 1962–1980, Democratic Justice Party in power 1980–1990, Democratic Liberal Party (South Korea) in power 1990–1995, New Korea Party in power 1995–1997 and Saenuri Party in power 2008–2017.
- South Vietnam: South Vietnam Personalist Labor Revolutionary Party in power 1955–1963, National Social Democratic Front in power 1969–1975.
- Sri Lanka: United National Party governed from 1977 to 1994, and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party governed from 1994 to 2015.
- Indonesia: The Golkar (acronym of Golongan Karya or Functional Groups) organization from 1971 to 1999.
- Israel: Mapai in Israel was the dominant party from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 (and before 1944 they won the Assembly of Representatives since 1925) until merging into present-day Israeli Labor Party in 1968. The Labor Party started losing influence in the 1970s, particularly following the Yom Kippur War, and eventually lost power in the 1977 election. The Labor Party continued to participate in several coalition governments until 2009.
- Malaysia: Barisan Nasional, in power from 1957 to 2018, defeated in 2018 election.
- Yemen: General People's Congress, In power effectively from 1982 to 2015, ceded effective control after Houthi takeover of Sana'a.
- Northern Cyprus: The National Unity Party governed from 1983 to 2005.
- South Africa: The National Party in South Africa from 1948 to 1994.
- Egypt: The National Democratic Party (NDP) of Egypt, under various names, from 1952 to 2011 (as Arab Socialist Union, sole legal party 1953–1978)
- Nigeria: People's Democratic Party (PDP) was in power from May 29, 1999, till May 29, 2015, when the opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidential election in 2015.
- Tunisia: The Democratic Constitutional Rally in Tunisia, 1956–2011 (as the sole legal party between 1963 and 1981)
- Senegal: The Socialist Party in Senegal from 1960 to 2000.
- Rhodesia: The Rhodesian Front in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), under the leadership of Ian Smith, from 1965 to 1980.
- The Gambia: The People's Progressive Party in The Gambia from 1962 to 1994. The Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction under Yahya Jammeh from 1996 to 2017, with Jammeh ruling first under a Junta after a coup from 1994 to 1996.
- Burkina Faso: The Congress for Democracy and Progress from 1996 to 2014, under Blaise Compaoré, who ruled first as an independent after a coup from 1987 to 1989, then leads Organization for Popular Democracy – Labour Movement from 1989 to 1996.
- Sudan: National Congress from 1998 to 2019.
- Zambia: The Movement for Multiparty Democracy in Zambia from 1991 to 2011.
- Kenya: The Kenya African National Union in Kenya from 1963 to 2002.
- Liberia: True Whig Party ruled de jure dominantly from 1878 to 1980.
- Seychelles: United Seychelles Party ruled from 1977 to 2020.
- Ivory Coast: Democratic Party of Ivory Coast governed from 1960 to 1999 (from 1960 to 1990 as the sole legal party).
- Guinea-Bissau: African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) governed from 1974 to 1999 (from 1974 to 1991 as the sole legal party).
- Australia: The Liberal Party (generally in a near-permanent Coalition with the National Party) held power federally from 1949 to 1972 and from 1975 to 1983 (31 out of 34 years). By the scheduled expiry of the 46th Parliament in 2022, the Liberal-National Coalition will have held power for 20 out of the 26 years between 1996 and 2022. Overall from 1949 to 2022, the Liberal Party will have held power for 52 out of the last 73 years. The longest-serving Prime Minister was Robert Menzies, who served from 1939 to 1941 (2 years) as a member of the United Australia Party, and from 1949 to 1966 (16 years) as leader of the Liberal Party.
- Northern Territory: The Country Liberal Party held power from the granting of self-government in 1978 to 2001 (23 years).
- New South Wales: The Labor Party held power from 1941 to 1965 (24 years), and from 1976 to 1988 and 1995 to 2011 (28 out of 35 years) – in total 52 out of 70 years from 1941 to 2011.
- Queensland: The Labor Party held power from 1915 to 1929 and from 1932 to 1957 (39 out of 42 years). The National Party then held power from 1957 to 1989 (32 years). These were facilitated by a Labor-designed malapportionment that favoured rural districts. The National Party under Joh Bjelke-Petersen increased the malapportionment with the Bjelkemander, allowing them to rule alone without the Liberals, and used the police to suppress dissent and opposition from Labor. The National Party dominance was ended by a corruption Inquiry, Bjelke-Petersen was forced to resign in disgrace and police and politicians were charged with crimes. Since 1989, Labor has held government aside from a National Party government 1996–1998 and Liberal-National Party government 2015–2018 (27 years of Labor government out of 32 years).
- South Australia: The Liberal and Country League held power from 1933 to 1965 (32 years). The Labor Party held power from 1970 to 1979, from 1982 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2018 (26 out of 38 years).
- Tasmania: The Labor Party held power from 1934 to 1969 and from 1972 to 1982 (45 out of 48 years), from 1989 to 1992, and from 1998 to 2014 (16 years) – in total 64 out of 80 years from 1934 to 2014.
- Victoria: The Liberal Party held power from 1955 to 1982 (27 years).
- Western Australia: The Liberal Party held power from 1947 to 1983 with two one-term interruptions between 1953 and 1956 and 1971 to 1974 (30 out 36 years).
- Australian Capital Territory: The Labor Party has held power since 2001 (in coalition with the Greens since 2012), previously holding government between 1989 and 1995 (24 years out of 30 years since self government).
- New Zealand: The Liberal Party governed from 1891 to 1912.
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