Political party

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Oh no, they're talking about
Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
United States politics British politics Canadian politics Chinese politics French politics Indian politics Iranian politics Israeli politics Japanese politics South Korean politics
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Political party could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

A political party is an organization dedicated to gaining political power for both the party and its members.

A typical political party will endorse a "platform", representing their stance on various issues. Depending on the party and the subject, adherence to these platforms' every point is not necessarily required. What is more important in governing situations among larger parties is what is called "party discipline", where members are expected to vote a certain way on specific bills, however close or distant the issue at hand is to the actual platform.

So-called "catchall" parties will usually have very long, intricate, and watered-down platforms that reflect their broad base of member voters. Smaller parties, which often form in reaction to a single issue or small group of neglected problems (in their opinion) on the political stage, will often have short, concise platforms.

Party systems[edit]

National party systems differ considerably in the number and relative strength of their parties. This is mostly due to two factors: the severity of social fault lines ("cleavages") in a society, be they ethnic, economic or religious; and the voting system a country employs. Highly pluralistic societies and proportional voting systems tend to increase the number of parties, while uniform societies with majoritarian elections usually have fewer. At the most basic level, the party systems are classified as one-, two-, or multiparty systems.

  • A de-facto one-party-system doesn't necessarily mean that the state in question is authoritarian and doesn't allow competition — maybe one party is just so awesome that nobody else wants to vote for another (for example, Sweden from 1936 to 1976, when the Social Democratic Party held the government for 40 years straight).
  • Two-party systems tend to be most closely associated with majoritarian first-past-the-post election systems, as in the United States,[1] though there are rare cases of de jure two-party systems, such as Shah Pahlavi's Iran. Sometimes, these systems do allow other parties to rise, like the British Liberal Democrats, but the aftermath of the 2010 election was the first occasion on which their existence had an actual impact on government formation.
  • Finally, multiparty systems with many smaller parties tend to occur in countries with many deep social divisions (Belgium or India) or very low entry hurdles (Israel). These tend to be messy and can lead to political instability, but it also enables a variety of ideologies to enjoy political representation. In order to get a stake in the government, different political parties come together to form an alliance or a front. They can run the government in a coalition.

Studying and comparing party systems is a major branch of political science, and there is a multitude of studies that explore these relationships in more detail.[2][3]

Non-party systems[edit]

Various politicians have opposed the idea of political parties or factions. Many of the Founding Fathers of the United States were opposed to parties, which were seen as a relic of the corrupt system in the UK and elsewhere: Alexander Hamilton called them "the most fatal disease" of popular governments, and James Madison hoped the design of the US's institutions would prevent factions from forming. George Washington wanted his government to include all viewpoints, while John Adams tried to make it illegal to criticise the President and his administration. Only a few, such as Thomas Jefferson, believed parties were natural and inevitable because people tend to form groups based on shared interests. In reality, factions quickly formed over the differences between the groups that would become the Democratic-Republicans and Federalists.[4]

Every now and then, well-meaning ignoramuses and eccentrics suggest that it would be better if parties were abolished and politicians forced to decide each law or proposal individually on a case-by-case basis.[5] Something similar can be seen in jurisdictions such as Switzerland and California which hold single-issue referendums to decide different things: you may carry out the people's viewpoints, but there is no guarantee things will be consistent, affordable, or in accordance with earlier commitments.

Other nations have tried to avoid factionalism by making rival political parties illegal. Rather than usher in popular democracy and freedom, the result is usually an authoritarian, oppressive One-party stateWikipedia (more or less one-party, sometimes you have a few closely linked approved parties, as in China). Examples of current more-or-less one-party states include China, Cuba, Laos, Eritrea, Vietnam, and North Korea. Historical examples include Nazi Germany (with most other Axis states), the Soviet Union, much of the Eastern Bloc, Yugoslavia, and many more.[6][7]

Party systems around the world[edit]


Parliament of South Africa, Cape Town.

In many African countries, the political scene is dominated by the former independence movement or movements against a native dictatorship and/or ethnicity-based parties. As such, the name of a party does not necessarily include its ideology.

South Africa[edit]

  • Before its first democratic elections in 1994, South African politics was dominated by the conservative National Party, which governed the country based on "Christian nationalism" and "separate development" — the basis for apartheid.
  • The Conservative Party of South Africa only came into being in 1982, when a group of ultra-conservatives, led by Dr. Andries Treurnicht (a Dutch Reformed Church minister), broke away from the National Party. They objected to the creation by PW Botha of the so-called Tricameral Parliament (which gave token representation to Indian and colored South Africans while ignoring black South Africans) and other reforms, which the Conservative Party felt were a threat to white minority rule. In other words, the Conservative Party of South Africa came into being because they felt the ruling apartheid regime wasn't being racist enough.
  • The main party since the end of Apartheid is the ANC or African National Congress, which started out as an anti-Apartheid movement. They have won all national elections in which blacks could vote. Today, while being nominally socialist/social democratic, the ruling African National Congress is such a large party that individual planks of the platform and several high ranking members are quite conservative, especially on social issues. There are also numerous smaller, explicitly Christian parties of any ethnic composition.
  • The main opposition party (Democratic Alliance) is a Centrist catch-all party that tries to style itself after the Obama-era Democrats.



  • What elections?



The National Congress of Brazil, Brasília

Brazilian politics is characterized by many small parties even in parliament; this list merely lists the leading forces from each political camp (except for the communists, who are only included for consistency). In recent years, some parties have merged, due to the introduction of an electoral threshold in 2017.

  • DEM - Democrats (Center-right. It was a dissidence of the Social Democratic Party (PDS), which was the successor of the former National Renewal Alliance (ARENA), the de facto the de facto single party that governed during the military dictatorship that ended in 1985. In its last years, DEM became more of a big-tent party as most of its old members retired or died. In 2021, the DEM merged with the PSL, forming Brazil Union, which has the same political program and center-right and liberal ideology of DEM.)
  • MDB - Brazilian Democratic Movement (Big tent party. The party of the former president Michel Temer, who polls consistently in single digits)
  • PT - Workers' Party (Center-left to left-wing, social democratic, social liberal, populist. Formerly far-left and anticapitalist. Party of Lula and Dilma Rousseff.)
  • PSDB - Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Center to center-right, social liberal. Started off center-left and opposed military dictatorship, then moved to the right as the only appropriate mainstream party for right-wingers until 2018. Its members are nicknamed of "toucans", due to their symbol being a toucan.)
  • PDT - Democratic Labour Party (Centre-left, social democratic, labourist. Former ally of Lula, it holds more moderate position than PT and is similar to the UK Labour Party. It was founded by Leonel Brizola, a labor politician and former supporter of Getúlio Vargas, which had been in exile during the military dictatorship until returning to Brazil in 1979.)
  • PSB - Socialist Party of Brazil (Centre-left, social democratic. Similar to PDT, just a bit more moderate, similar to german SPD.)
  • PSL - Social Liberal Party (Far-right, nationalist, irony. It started out as a small liberal, centrist party, similar to the US Libertarian Party, until Jair Bolsonaro joined and took over, pushing the party's cultural policies much further to the right and causing the more culturally liberal wing to switch parties. In 2019, Bolsonaro left the PSL, after trying to found his own party and failing, migrating to the Liberal Party (PL) two years later. In 2021, the PSL merged with the Democrats, forming Brazil Union.)
  • PL - Liberal Party (Right-wing to far-right). Founded under the name of Republic Party (PR), it was a centrist party and supporter of the government of Lula and Dilma, until it took a turn to the right when Bolsonaro joined the party in 2021.
  • PSOL - Socialism and Freedom Party (Left-wing to far-left, comparable to Momentum in the UK, and Democratic Socialists of America, with some relevant, more nutty members)
  • PCdoB - Communist Party of Brazil (Left-wing to far-left, Communism, Marxism-Leninism. PCdoB is the most popular communist party, basically a loyal coalition partner for PT at this point.)
  • Republicans (Right-wing, Christian right). It is a party founded in 2006, it is the political arm of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Pentecostal church founded by Edir Macedo. Is one of the main parties of the evangelical caucus in the Brazilian parliament.


See the main article on this topic: Political parties of Canada
Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

The parties having seats in Parliament:

  • Liberal Party (Center to center-left, seems to have resigned itself to the Conservatives' austerity. Often derided (or applauded) for their strategy of pursuing (or stealing) the country's most popular ideas to stay in power. To be fair, it worked for 80 of the first 110 years of Canada's existence, so there you go.)
  • Conservative Party (Center-right to right-wing) Conservatism in Canada has, like its counterpart in the United States, shifted further to the right in recent years, and rather strangely. The Tories were once known as the Progressive Conservative Party, which was centrist by today's standards and even pragmatic enough to win votes from the most hardline Dipper. The Social Credit Party once occupied the space further to the right; with the collapse of the SoCreds during the 1980s, the Reform Party of Canada (1987-2000) emerged with a socially conservative platform and its base of support in the Western provinces, replaced by the Canadian Alliance (2000-2003). The Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance merged in 2003 to become the Conservative Party of Canada, who - at their very best - are like the worst of the Blue Dog Democrats circa 1996 (with the crime bill and welfare reform admiration). Thanks to Harper, who helped spearhead the merger, attempts at social conservatism (tried to ban abortion), transparent xenophobia regarding Muslims (the "burqa ban" nonsense in 2015), an anti-science agenda, and a hard-on for warmongering (tried to merge the Canadian and American militaries together) were all adopted by the Tories. Harper is the most viciously and fervently right-wing Prime Minister in their history. Still, if you put him in America, he'd be the "moderate" (which is a commentary more on America than Canada).
  • Bloc Québécois (Center-left, Separatist, nationalistic)
  • New Democratic Party (Center-left to left-wing)
  • Green Party (Center to center-left, environmentalist)


The Chile Congress Building, Santiago.
  • Independent Democratic Union (Right-wing to far-right, nationalist, social-conservative, neoliberal and Pinochetist)
  • National Renewal (Center-right to right-wing, conservative or liberal-conservatism, the former party of the now independent president Sebastián Piñera)
  • Amplitude (Center, liberal or classical-liberal.)
  • Christian Democratic Party (Center to center-left. economic progressive, mostly socially conservative)
  • Socialist Party (Was once Marxist under Salvador Allende, now is center-left, social democratic, socialist in-name-only)
  • Party for Democracy (Center-left social democracy.)
  • Social Democrat Radical Party (Center-left social liberalism.)
  • Communist Party (Left-wing, Democratic socialism and communism)

For the 2017 election, the parties were united into alliances:

  • Centre-left Nueva Mayoría, led by the Socialists and including the Communists. One major party.
  • Right-wing Chile Vamos, led by IDU. Another major party, won the presidency.
  • Left-wing Frente Amplio, a collection of formerly small leftist parties. Seems like a viable third party, *almost* beat the center-left to the runoffs.


San Lazaro Legislative Palace, Mexico City.
  • PAN - Nacional Action Party (Center-right. conservatism and Christian democracy)
  • PRI - Institutional Revolutionary Party (Center. a hotbed of corruption)
  • PRD - Party of the Democratic Revolution (Center-left. social democracy)
  • PVEM - Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (Center-right. Green conservatism)
  • PT - Labor Party (Left-wing)
  • MORENA - National Regeneration Movement (Center-left to left-wing)

United States[edit]

US Capitol, Washington DC.

The United States has a two-party system, with these two parties who have had a virtual stranglehold on US politics since the Civil War:

In fact, since the two parties are close to "big tents", individual party members are likely to have extremely different tendencies. (ex. DINO and socialists/RINO and radical conservatives)

Some of these parties have also won seats at very local levels, but never at a national level. Some Senators and Representatives, however, do have views that fall in line with some of these.

  • Green Party (Left-wing, environmentalist, tends to peddle woo. Openly conspiratorial as of 2016.)
  • Libertarian Party (Right-wing, Libertarian, duh)
  • Reform Party (Center, reformist, with a side of nuts)
  • Modern Whig Party (Center, conservative liberal, ceased to be a party in 2019, now known as Modern Whig Institute)
  • Justice Party (Center-left to left-wing, social democratic)
  • Constitution Party (Right-wing to far-right, paleoconservative)
  • National Socialist Movement (Far-right, what it says on the tin, batshit insane racists)
  • Communist Party USA (Far-left, what it says on the tin)
  • Socialist Party (center-left to far-left, some variations are scattered about and not all agree with each other; Socialist Party USA is the biggest)
  • Peace and Freedom Party (Center-left to left-wing, self-described as "committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality", active mostly in California)
  • Working Families Party (Center-left to left-wing, social democratic and progressive.)
  • Prohibition Party (Founded in 1869, making it the oldest minor party in the USA.[9] Their 2012 Presidential ballot received 518 votes nationwide,[10] and their 2016 Presidential Convention consisted of a conference call.[11])



India has a multiparty system.

  • There are three major alliances in India: the National Democratic Alliance, the United Progressive Alliance, and the Left Front.
  • Indian conservatism is represented by Hindu nationalism. The Bharatiya Janata Party is the dominant conservative party in India.
  • The Indian National CongressWikipedia is the main political party in India. This party is a center-left party representing social liberalism and secularism in India.
  • A lot of tiny parties, mostly representing various ethnicities, religions, regions, etc.


Knesset Building, Jerusalem.
To read, let alone write, a detailed account of all of Israel's parties - their permutations, alliances, and mutual betrayals - is a punishment fit for the worst sinners in hell.
— Martin van Creveld

There is a reason for the old adage "two Jews three opinions". A two percent threshold and a purely proportional system of representation have done the rest.

In general, though, the two major parties of left and right for most of Israel's history have been Labor (under varying names and alliances) and Likud (dito). Recently both have taken hits, the former due to its mostly dovish stance on the peace process falling out of favor, the latter due to Ariel SharonWikipedia splitting off his own party (Kadima, if you were curious).


National Diet Building, Tokyo.
  • Liberal Democratic Party (Hold on to your hats: Right-wing, Conservative, they ruled for almost 54 years! Continuously! You know, except those 11 months in 1993 and 1994 The only party in a democratic nation to beat them in terms of longevity of reign is Mexico's PRI that - as chance would have it - returned to power again after a brief absence from it)
  • Constitutional Democratic Party (Center to center-left. Liberal and Social-liberal. Formed by the liberal wing of the Democrats who didn't join the Party of Hope. Mainly consists of social liberals who oppose changing Japan's pacifist constitution. However, there are some moderate conservatives.)
  • Democratic Party for the People (Center to center-right. Liberal-Conservative. Formerly the Party of Hope. Formed by Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike in the run-up to the 2017 election and merged with the conservative wing of the Democratic Party (DP). The remnants of the DP folded into it a year later when it renamed itself. Pretty much indistinguishable policy-wise from the LDP)
  • New Komeito Party (Center-right. Social-conservatives and Centrists linked to Soka Gakkai Buddhist sect. In perpetual coalition with the LDP)
  • Japanese Communist Party (Left-wing. Democratic socialists - also pacifists, they kept the name, though)
  • Nippon Ishin no Kai (Neo-liberal, Right-wing. Mainly based in Osaka)
  • Social Democratic Party (Center-left to left-wing. Exactly what's on the tin. Used to be the second-largest party before going into a coalition with the LDP in the 1990s. Since then, it has become pretty much irrelevant.

North Korea[edit]

Mansudae Assembly Hall, Pyongyang.
  • Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland (All these parties are loyal to the regime)
    • Workers' Party of Korea (Wins all elections, represents all workers. Oh right, everyone is employed by the government.)
    • Korean Social Democratic Party (puppet of the regime, officially center-left)
    • Chondoist Chongu Party (puppet of the regime, linked to the Cheondoist religion)

South Korea[edit]

National Assembly of South Korea, Seoul.

South Korea's significant parties often "dissolve" themselves by merging with smaller parties while mainly retaining their former identities and, sometimes, even their former names. The Millennium Democrats, for example, became the Democrats (2006), which "dissolved" into the Democrats.

Almost ALL political parties in South Korea are not free from social conservatism. Perhaps mainstream political parties in South Korea will be treated as very extreme right-wing when they go to Europe.

In South Korean politics, "liberal" is not used in the same sense as the United States. In particular, some of the elements called "conservative" in the United States are called "conservative-liberal" in South Korea. (Political scientists classify "conservative-liberal" as a Republican ideology.) Unlike the United States, social progressives in South Korea do not participate in the Democratic Party and exist as individual parties.

  • Democratic Party (Center to center-left. It is generally referred to as a "liberal" and "social-liberal" party, but there is a controversy over this because of its very social conservative nature. Current President Moon Jae-In's party)
  • United Future Party (Right-wing Conservative, Social-conservative and Economic-liberal.)
  • Party for People's Livelihoods (Center to center-right Conservative-liberal, Jeolla regionalism.)
  • Justice Party (Centre-left, Social-democrats.)
  • Minjung Party (Left-wing, socialism and Korean nationalism)
  • People Party (Center to center-right Conservative-liberal and Classical-liberal.)
  • Basic Income Party (Centre-left, Social-liberal)

From here on, it is a party without seats.

  • Labor Party - (Centre-left to left-wing)
  • Green Party Korea - (Left-wing. feminism and green politics)
  • Our Future - (Centre-left. Youth right)
  • Our Republican Party (Far-right, Social-conservative, Pro-Park Geun-hye and anti-communist)
  • Christian Liberal Unification Party (Far-right, Christian fundamentalism)


The Zhongnanhai, headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.
  • The Communist Party- Wins all elections, represents all workers. Sure. Arguably more nationalist than communist at this point (the irony!), and has been turning China into a market economy since the '80s. Economically the CCP supports "Supply-Side Structural Reform".[12] Officially, there are eight other legal minor parties that together form the "United Front" (these include the Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party, a remnant of 1920s and 1930s politics; the China Zhi Gong Party, formed by pro-democrats overseas in the 1920s but long-since under Communist control; the China Democratic League, the remnants of an early 1940s centrist organisation; and the China National Democratic Construction Association, which largely comprises property developers and entrepreneurs), but the CCP is all powerful.[13]
Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong is a territory of China, but it is a home rule city building its own political and economic system. That's why Hong Kong, unlike mainland China, has a Western-style liberal democracy (although its liberal democracy is increasingly being undermined...).

Taiwan(Republic of China)[edit]

Unlike Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan is not a region dominated by China. But the international position of Taiwan is recognized as China's territory.

Taiwan is de facto an independent country, unlike Hong Kong and Macau, so China does not directly interfere with its politics. (Of course, even though China is putting pressure on Taiwanese politics with the 'One-China policy' principle)

  • Kuomintang (Center-right to Right-wing. China nationalism + Conservative party. This party was the famous Chiang Kai-shek party. So it was originally an anti-Communist party, it has been favorable to the PRC since the '90s and has turned its course toward reunification with China. However, they oppose reunification or 'one country, two systems' by the communist regime. They want to unify 1:1 in equal relations.)
  • Democratic Progressive Party (Center-left. Social liberalism + Taiwan nationalist party. They argue that Taiwan is not part of China and that Taiwanese are not Chinese. Formed in the 80s by pro-democracy activists who opposed the Kuomintang's one-party rule.)
  • New Power Party (Center-left to Left-wing. It is a political party created by Taiwan's labor activists and radical student activists and represents leftist populism. It advocates democratic socialism and Taiwanese nationalism, but it despises communism. The party also dislikes the Chinese so much that there is a controversy over racism.)[note 4]
  • Taiwan Statebuilding Party (Left-wing. Progressives, radical Taiwanese nationalism and Anti-PRC)
  • People First Party (Center-right. Although it is a Chinese nationalist conservative party, it is a center-right party that is more friendly to Taiwanese nationalism than Kuomintang.)
  • Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (Center and center-right minor party. The party is skeptical of Taiwanese nationalism, but neither is Chinese nationalism so friendly. It aims to preserve the traditional culture of minorities in Taiwan.)



Palace of the Nation, Brussels.
  • Christian Democratic and Flemish/Humanist Democratic Centre (Centrist economically, but socially conservative)
  • Open Flemish and Liberal Democrats/Reform Movement (Right-wing economically, but socially liberal)
  • Socialist Party.Different/Socialist Party (Centre-left, social-democratic)
  • Green!/Ecolo (Centre-left to left-wing, environmentalist)
  • New Flemish Alliance (Right-wing, Flemish Nationalists)
  • Democracy, Federalist, Independent (Right-wing, Walloon Nationalists)
  • Flemish Belonging (Far-right, Conservative)
  • People's Party (Far-right, right-wing populists with close ties to Marine Le Pen and Steve Bannon)
  • Party of Labor (Left-wing, Ex-communist)


  • National Coalition Party (Center-right, Liberal conservatism. Neo-liberal in economics with a more libertarian youth movement. In social issues, they have both very liberal and very conservative factions)
  • Social Democratic Party of Finland (Your run of the mill Nordic Social democratic party. Dominated Finnish parliament during much of the post-WW2 20th century. Moved more towards Social Liberalism during the 1990s (when they formed a coalition government with National Coalition), but has, in recent years, returned towards more traditional Social Democratic policies. Bounced back on top for the first time in 16 years in 2019 elections.[14]
  • Center Party (Historically Centrist and agrarian. Between 2015 and 2019, they took a hard (economic) right-wing turn, which led to their worst election result in over 100 years in the 2019 parliamentary elections. They are currently trying to shift back towards the center.)
  • The Finns Party (a Populist, eurosceptic, socially conservative, not racistDo You Believe That? but number one with racists. Originally called True Finns, they changed their English name in 2011 to demonstrate that they’re not just the only true Finns, but indeed the only Finns period. Used to be more centrist with less blatant racism, but since 2003 they’ve moved further and further towards batshit insanity. In the 2017 party conference, the Anti-immigration hard-liners took over. Two days later, most of the “moderates”, including all of the former party leadership, defected and formed their own party “Blue Alternative”.[15] Nevertheless, the Finns Party jumped back to 2nd place in 2019 elections[16], having just 1 seat less than Social Democratic Party, whereas Blue Alternative sunk to obscurity.)
  • Green League (Environmentalist, social liberal, also either right-wing or Stalinist, depending on who you ask.)
  • Left Alliance (Left-wing)
  • Christian Democrats of Finland (Socially conservative, economically centrist bible thumpers)
  • Swedish People's Party of Finland (Swedish speaking minority[note 5], technically center-right but also so flexible that they fit in almost any coalition government)
  • Movement Now (Vanity project of former Ice Hockey mogul and media personality Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo. Harkimo was elected to parliament from National Coalition in 2015 but abandoned the party in 2018 in order to find his own. Following the 2019 elections he remains the parties only MP, though they managed to get some city councilors, including Harkimos' son and brother, elected in 2021 municipal elections. Policies similar to National Coalition with some more insistence for direct democracy and supporting entrepreneurship above big business.)


Palais Bourbon, Paris.
  • Democratic Movement (MoDem) (Centrist. Reasonable success.)
  • En Marche! (Centrist. pro-European liberal, Party of current president Emmanuel Macron)
  • Europe Ecology – The Greens (Centre-left, environmentalist)
  • Union des Démocrates et Indépendants (Centre to center-right, allied with the UMP)
  • Socialist Party (PS) (in practice, Center-left and social democratic at the very best. François Hollande, the former PS president, is part of the social liberal centrist wing of the party. Minor party since 2017 from being in power for five years, continuing austerity, and adopting the right's approach to Muslims.
  • Les Républicains (LR) (Conservative or liberal conservative, from Center-right to positions close to the FN's)
  • Front National (FN) (Far-right. ultra-conservative, Islamophobic. Made it to the runoffs in 2002 and 2017.)
  • Left-wing Front (Left-wing to far-left. includes the Communist Party)
  • La France Insoumise(Left-wing for some, far-left for others. It advocates democratic socialism and Alter-globalisation. Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the Founder of the Party.)
  • New Anticapitalist Party (Far-left)
  • Pirate Party (minor - but very popular with low-income young adults who need to download stuff).


Reichstag Building, Berlin.
See the main article on this topic: Political parties of Germany

Since the two biggest parties have moved to the center over the last decade, space there is getting rather crowded, and people find it increasingly hard to figure out the differences. On the plus side, ideological differences have mostly vanished, and policies are relatively stable across administrations. On the negative side, ideological differences have mostly vanished, and policies are relatively stable across administrations.


Palazzo Madama, Rome.
See the main article on this topic: Political parties of Italy
  • League (far-right, nationalist, anti-immigrants, wingnut, xenophobe, homophobe; currently in government)
  • Five Star Movement - M5S (Big tent, populist, anti-establishment. Currently in government with the Democratic Party, it has moved to the right and is now decreasing in polls; supports woo and conspiracy theories)
  • Democratic Party - PD (Formerly a social democratic party, it has moved to the center and has adopted neoliberal policies, losing much of its support. It is now slowly moving again to the left)
  • Brothers of Italy - FdI (basically the same as the League, little popular support)
  • Free and Equals - LeU (a coalition between leftist parties and social democratic splits from PD, it has small support and collapsed after the 2018 election)
  • More Europe (centrist, neoliberal, little but stable support)


The Binnenhof, the Hague

Parties with at least one seat in the Dutch House of Representatives:

  • People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) (33 seats); center-right. conservative liberal and libaral conservative.[17] However, it shows a more conservative tendency economically.
  • Party for Freedom (PVV) (20 seats); Geert Wilders's populist party which rarely passes up an opportunity to be wrong.
  • Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) (19 seats); probably the most centrist party, though moving in the conservative direction as of 2017.
  • Democrats '66 (D66) (19 seats); progressive centre to centre-left party.
  • GreenLeft (GL) (14 seats); center-left party with focus on environmental issues. Its charismatic leader Jesse Klaver styles himself a Trudeau.
  • Socialist Party (SP) (14 seats); socialist with populist tendencies.
  • Labour party (PvDA) (9 seats); centre-left, former major party. Moved to the center and adopted the Third Way in the nineties, culminating in coalition with VVD; since 2017, they’ve crashed to single digits.
  • ChristianUnion (CU) (5 seats); "social Christians", focused on bringing the compassionate and humanist side of the Bible into practice. Mostly center-left, but more conservative on some religious issues.
  • Party for the Animals (PvdD) (5 seats); left party with focus on environmental issues, animal rights.
  • 50Plus (4 seats); mostly center-right with a focus on the elderly.
  • Reformed Political Party (SGP) (3 seats); fundamentalist Christian party.
  • DENK (3 seats); identity politics and left-wing party, focused on voters with a Turkish background.
  • Forum for Democracy (FvD) (2 seats); roughly the PVV pretending to be intellectual.

Most of these parties are also represented in the Dutch senate, which also has the "independent senate party" (OSF). Since few people care about the senate, no one really knows who they are or what they stand for.


Storting building, Oslo.

These parties are represented in the Norwegian parliament.

  • The Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet): The social democrats, which has dominated Norwegian politics since 1935. Currently in power.
  • The "Progress" Party (Fremskrittspartiet): The right-wing populists, who think Norway would be better off with fewer taxes and immigrants. Some argue the name is misleading.
  • The Conservative Party (Høyre): The liberal-conservative party. Likes to pull the brakes.
  • The Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti): The socialist opposition party, which used to criticize the Labor Party from the left. Being in its first government (a coalition with the Labors) tore the party down, and it is now struggling to survive.
  • The Centre Party (Senterpartiet): A centrist agrarian party with strong isolationist and traditionalist inclinations. Formerly called Bondepartiet ("Farmer's Party"). Strongly opposes membership in the European Union. Popular in the countryside. Currently in power.
  • The Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti): The morally conservative party, which is skeptical to homosexuality and other ungodly things.
  • The Liberal Party (Venstre): A social liberal party which used to be the biggest party of the left (until the interwar years), but now is more of a center-right shadow of its former self, notable as one of two parties opposing increased surveillance and supporting people's right to download music without being sued.
  • The Green Party (Miljøpartiet de Grønne): Arguably the largest radical party represented in the Parliament. Used to be on the fringe of Norwegian politics but is now a growing political force. Notable as the only party which declares no affiliation to the historic right/left-wing blocks of politics. Popular in the largest cities.
  • Reds- Far-left, reform communist party that is popular with young, urban voters. Its leader, Bjørnar Møxnes, was elected as Rødt’s sole MP in 2017.


Sejm and Senate Complex of Poland, Warsaw.
  • Civic Platform (Center to center-right lib-con. in power until 2015. The largest parliamentary opposition since)
  • Law and Justice (Right-wing to far-right, Christian democratic with heavily conservative social stance, control the presidency of Poland and the party is in power)
  • Polish People's Party (agrarian, conservative, often regarded as populist due to a tendency of switching alliances, currently in a coalition government with Civic Platform)
  • Alliance of Democratic Left (center-left, the successor to the United Workers Party of Poland - the former ruling party during the communist era. Mostly consists of their former members. As with several other European social-democratic parties, once was in government but declined to almost nothing)
  • Your Movement, formerly Palikot's Movement (social-liberal, heavy focus on social issues like LGBT rights, relaxing drug laws, and separating the state from the church; former member Anna Grodzka was Poland's first transgender MP)
  • Coalition for Restoration of Rzeczpospolita Freedom and Hope (as ridiculous as their name, conservative-liberal, the current party of European Parliament favorite comedian, the Polish Nigel Farage, Janusz Korwin-Mikke after he got kicked out yet again)
  • Razem (socially progressive, left-wing. Organizes protests for abortion rights and against Donald Trump)
  • National Movement (NaziNationalist, conservative and populist, the heads behind Independence March - an annual road debricking, rainbow-burning celebration in Warsaw)
  • Kukiz' Party (They don't really have a name or a party platform, yet are somehow popular thanks to their vocal leader, musician Paweł Kukiz)

Republic of Ireland[edit]

Leinster House, Dublin.
  • Fine Gael (center-right, governing party since 2011. PM Leo Varadkar’s party)
  • Labour Party (center-left, practically in the pocket of FG. Second largest party between 2011-16; since then, they’ve dwindled to almost nothing due to the coalition with FG)
  • Fianna Fáil (big tent party - currently the second-largest party, although between 1932 to 2011 was always the largest party in the Dáil. Suffered a massive defeat in 2011, losing 57 seats due to massive economic mismanagement and corruption)
  • Sinn Féin (center left to left-wing. Pretty long and chequered history. Formerly the political wing of the PIRA. Currently led by Ireland's most polarizing beard, Gerry Adams. Largest “left” party since 2016)
  • Green Party (centrist, environmentalist)
  • Socialist Party/Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) (far-left Trotskyists, expelled from the Labour Party in 1991.)
  • Socialist Workers/People Before Profit Alliance (PPA) (far-left Hippie Trotskyists based in Kingstown)
  • Independents (tend to have socialist leanings)
  • Direct Democracy Ireland (right-wing, freeman on the land nutjobs.)

Russian Federation[edit]

The White House, Moscow.

Note that almost every one of these lies about its location on the political spectrum, and most of these parties are loyal to Putin.[18]

  • United Russia - Claims to be the centrist party with conservative views, actually populist and right-wing. Medvedev is the chairman. Putin left in 2012 to distance himself from the party's deteriorating reputation for corruption and fraud. However, United Russia still makes up most of Putin's support base. Meanwhile, Putin remains the de-facto leader, and the party continues to be the dominant force in Russian politics. Largest party.
  • Communist Party of the Russian Federation - Yep. They are still around. It openly reveres Stalin. Second largest party.
  • A Just Russia - Claims to be a social democratic party, which comes from the fact that the Socialist and Green Parties merged into it, but has, in fact, conservative and nationalist positions. Often proposes quite strict laws. Third largest party.
  • Liberal Democratic Party of Russia - Not really liberal or democratic, actually expressing far-right ultranationalist positions on the majority of issues. Currently, the smallest party in the federal parliament.
  • New People - Putin's puppet used to sway liberal voters from actual liberal parties.
  • Yabloko - A liberal party and the only major party that challenges Putin on his foreign policy. Has no seats in the federal parliament, but some regional parliaments have MPs from the party.


Riksdag House, Stockholm.
  • Swedish Social Democratic Party (Centre-left, Social democratic)
  • Moderate Party (Centre-right. Liberal conservatives. What a paradox.)
  • Green Party (Centre-left. Environmentalist)
  • Liberal People's Party (Centre to center-right. Conservative in some issues for farmers and workers, but socially liberal center-left party.)
  • Center Party (A Centrist party with a semi-environmentalist agenda.)
  • Sweden Democrats (Right-wing to far-right. Nationalist conservatives.)
  • Pirate Party (Let's go torrent!)
  • Christian Democrats (Centre-right. Socially conservative)
  • Left Party (Left-wing. Like their name. They are feminists and activists. They advocate for socialism.)


As Swiss parties are in a perpetual coalition on the federal level, political differences tend to mostly manifest themselves when it comes to referenda, which are quite common in Switzerland.

  • Swiss People's Party (Right-wing to Far-right, Nationalist, Right-wing populism)
  • Social Democratic Party (Center-left to Left-wing, Social democracy, and anti-capitalism)
  • Christian Democratic People's Party (Center to Center-right. pro-welfare and social conservatism)
  • Free Democratic Party (Center-right to Right-wing. Conservative liberal and pro-business)
  • The Greens (Center-left, environmentalist)
  • Green Liberal Party (Centrist, environmentalist)
  • Conservative Democratic Party (Centre to Centre-right, pro-welfare and social conservatism)


Parties currently represented in Verkhovna Rada (Parliament):

  • Servant of the People (Big tent, populist, current president Zelensky's party)
  • European Solidarity (formerly Petro Poroshenko's bloc) (Christian democratic, pro-EU and pro-NATO, former president Poroshenko's party)
  • Batkivshchyna ("Fatherland") (Formerly Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc) (populist, pro-EU)
  • Platform for Life and Peace (formerly pro-Russian Opposition platform - for Life).
  • For the Future (in coalition with Servant of the People) (populist)
  • Voice (liberal, pro-EU)
  • Dovira (Trust) (in coalition with Servant of the People)
  • Restoration of Ukraine

Some other parties:

  • Svoboda ("Freedom") (far-right, ultranationalist, currently has one member in parliament who run as independent)
  • Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko (Right-wing populist, agrarian)

United Kingdom[edit]

Palace of Westminster, London.
See the main article on this topic: Political parties of the United Kingdom
  • Labour Party (Center-left by Current criteria, Since Tony Blair, moderate social democratic, slightly centrist; seems to be back on track as a left-wing party under Jeremy Corbyn, oh wait he's gone now nevermind)
  • Conservative Party (Center-right[note 6], Currently tearing itself up over Brexit. Three main factions are the Christian democrats, the liberal conservatives, and right-wing populists.) The UK Conservative Party (often going by its old political nickname of the Tory Party) would, in all irony, be defined as liberal by US conservatives. This is because, in UK politics, there is less of an extreme divide between the left and the right. It could be said that all parties are essentially battling for a middle ground, with only a slight hint of left/right political alignment, mostly inserted due to party tradition. While in the last decade, the Tories have struggled with presenting a united front and have been through various leaders, it recently elected David Cameron as the leader. In 2010 they formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. As a sign of evil liberal infection within the party, it supports publicly funded healthcare (the NHS)[19] and has many Muslim members[20] - a Muslim stood for a seat in Parliament representing the Conservative Party in a recent election (he lost... for some reason). They also seem to be okay with abortion and civil partnerships for gay couples and aren't too hot on compulsory religious indoctrination either. Cameron was able to pull off full gay marriage rights in England and Wales under the coalition,[21] at the dismay of most of his party.[22] However, their fiscal policies are still within the realms of conservatism. Much of the 2010 UK election was fought over what to do with the economy to pull it out of the recession; characteristically, the Conservative Party favored immediate spending cuts to cut the country's budget deficit while the more left-wing Labour Party preferred to hold off any cuts until later and pay for it with a tax rise.
  • Liberal Democrats (Center or liberal if you're a yank. Historically, they have been both market-friendly and supportive of more democratic voting systems (so they can win more). Nick Clegg put them somewhere between Ed Miliband's Labour Party and David Cameron's Conservative Party, remaining supportive of austerity while mostly forgetting what other ideas they used to have.)
  • Scottish National Party (SNP for short, slightly center-left and - until the election of Jeremy Corbyn - to the left of Labour, campaigns for independence for Scotland, and has no connection with the British National Party)
  • British Nazi National Party (very similar to the American Nazi Party, except slightly more subtle about it)
  • UK Independence Party (also known as Diet BNP - or BNP Lite if you didn't get the reference the first time)
  • Brexit Party Reform UK (Diet Diet BNP, formed after Nigel Farage left UKIP due to its embracing of people who made him look moderate by comparison)
  • Green (Environmentalist, Left-wing, attempted to work with Labour to beat the Tories, but that failed because of the sheer hubris of the Labour Party)
  • Official Monster Raving Loony Party (with the slogan "Vote for insanity, you know it makes sense!")


  • Ingsoc (Third Position) The brutally totalitarian party in control of Oceania, it uses widespread propaganda and manages to keep the masses ignorant and happy. Is represented by figurehead ruler "Big Brother", who likely doesn't actually exist. Propaganda is so thick that some information is unknown to the entire world. Came to power at some point between the end of World War II and 1984. Despite nominally being socialist, the party has condemned all principles of socialism.


Parliament House, Canberra.

(major parties in bold)

  • Liberal Party of Australia (center-right, liberal-conservative) Australian conservatives are, ironically, represented by the Liberal Party of Australia, so named because it was first formed on a platform of economic liberalism (although they are center-right by global standards). They stand for traditional values, and all the other stuff that US conservatives stand for (except gun control, and quite a few of their members are pro-choice). They generally support some government intervention in the economy, particularly in health care and education, but aren't socialist by any means (they especially don't like the unions). The former leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, is a devout practicing Catholic and a cold opponent to abortion. The Religious Right doesn't have much of a voice in Australian politics, but it clearly does exist. The fundies are represented by much smaller parties, such as the Christian Democratic Party and the Australian Christians (the latter of which has no representation on the federal level). The previous leader of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was actually a conservative-liberal (he was from the smaller, moderate faction of the party). The Liberals are in a perpetual coalition with the National Party. They realigned themselves to the center (and even to the right) since the Labor PMs Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in the 1980s, who balanced social spending for pensions, social wages, family benefits, retirement funds, education, and healthcare, with the deregulation of the financial sector, dismantling of the tariff system, public sector privatization, and mandatory detention for asylum seekers. Add in a decade of conservative rule by John Howard, and you're right at where we are now, where every Labor leader (from Rudd to Gillard and Shorten) parades policies virtually indistinguishable from Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
  • National Party of Australia (Center-right to right-wing, Conservative and agrarian) Enjoys high popularity in rural areas.
  • Australian Labor Party (Centre-left, social-democrats) It is big tent party for everyone from centrists to progressives. As the name implies, the party has heavy ties to labor unions.
  • The Greens (Centre-left to left-wing, environmentalist)
  • The Democrats (Liberal, centrist, sometimes center-left; de facto merged into the Greens)
  • Christian Democrat Party (The Fred Nile Group) (Christian, Conservative)
  • One Nation (Far-right, nationalist)
  • Socialist Alliance (Left-wing, Socialist)
  • Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) (Stoned)

New Zealand[edit]

The Beehive, Wellington.
  • Labour (Center-left; social-democratic)
  • National (Center-right; liberal-conservative)
  • Greens (Left-wing)
  • United Future (Centrist, social-liberal and conservative-liberal[note 7])
  • ACT (Right-wing; Classical liberalism, libertarianism, law-and-order conservatism)
  • New Zealand First (Syncretic;[note 8] populist with an anti-immigration emphasis)
  • Maori Party (Indigenous rights)[note 9]

The New Zealand National Party won the 2008 elections and is traditionally considered a right-leaning party; however, its policies would be regarded as more liberal than Barack Obama's. While there is economic conservatism, social conservatism is almost unheard of until the shit hits the fan.[23]

Erm... "elsewhere"[edit]

  • In Antarctica:
    • The Snow and Ice Party (Supports incremental change at a glacial pace.)
  • On the Moon:
    • The Vacuum Party (Supports cleaning up all that dust, and pronto!)
    • The Gravity Party (Supports long jumpers and golfers in attempts to beat Earth records.)
    • The Secessionists (Supports leaving Earth orbit and applying for planethood status.)
  • On Pluto
    • The Planetist party (supports the demotion of Neil deGrasse Tyson and applying for planethood; wins almost all elections among ten-year-old earthlings)
    • The Dwarf Planetist Party (repeated calls by little people to change the name have fallen on deaf ears)


  1. Modern "liberalism", advocated by the U.S. Democratic Party, shares many characteristics called "center-left" or "social democracy" in other regions.[8] The U.S. Democrats are more conservative than Western Europe's mainstream social-liberal/social-democratic center-left parties but more progressive than mainstream social-liberal/social-democratic center-left parties in Northeast Asia.
  2. In Spanish Wikipedia, modern liberalism in the United StatesWikipedia / Category:Democratic Party (United States)Wikipedia is classified as a category called social democracyWikipedia / Social democratic partiesWikipedia.
  3. The GOP is basically a right-wing conservative big-tent party, and historically, there have been 'center-right liberal conservatives', including Rockefeller Republicans, but now there is a significant stake in 'far-right national conservatives', including the Tea Party and Trumpism. (The Republican Governance GroupWikipedia is on a similar track to the Rockefeller Republicans.)
  4. Taiwan has a deformed political structure different from other countries because of various geographical, political, and ideological realities. Instead, liberal or mainstream left-wing parties have a pro-American tendency (anti-(Chinese)imperialist and left-wing (Taiwan) nationalist), and right-wing conservatives are not strong anti-communist because they are Chinese nationalism.
  5. Nowadays roughly five percent of Finland's population are native Swedish speakers. Historically Swedish was the primary language of the educated classes, and as such, some Finns resent the Swedish-speaking minority for its former dominant role. The number of Swedish-speakers has been slowly declining since Finland gained independence, and while both groups learn the language of the other in school, most Finns are more comfortable speaking English
  6. But after Brexit, there's also a right-wing populist tendency.
  7. United Future is a one-man machine, led by Peter Dunne. It formerly had a strong religious influence until the more extreme, Christian members departed in 2007
  8. New Zealand First is hard to place on the spectrum as they have policies that do not fit either tag very well. In the past, they have formed governments with both Labour and National; strong anti-immigration, anti-foreign ownership, and high superannuation are the cornerstones of its policy
  9. There was a considerable debate when this party was formed as to whether it was racist to have a party that only represented one ethnic group, but given New Zealand's MMP system of government, coupled with the specifically Maori seats, this representation should end up being roughly proportional and they'll end up working with other parties that support whatever they want, just like everyone else


  1. This fact is usually described as Duverger's Law.
  2. Rae, Douglas (1967): The Political Consequences of Electoral Law, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.
  3. Grofman, Bernard and Lijphart, Arend (eds.): Electoral Laws and their Political Consequences, New York: Agathon Press, 2003.
  4. The Founding Fathers Feared Political Factions Would Tear the Nation Apart, Sarah Pruitt, History Channel website, 2018
  5. How to avoid another hung parliament: ban all political parties, Terry Jones, The Guardian, May 12, 2020
  6. See the Wikipedia article on One-party state.
  7. Law against the Founding of New Parties, Holocaust Encyclopedia
  8. "A plea for liberalism: Lessons from the 20th century". The Economist. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2022. "Social democracy, which Tony Judt calls “the prose of European politics”, is what Americans call liberalism."
  9. Anderson, Lisa. The Politics of Prohibition: American governance and the Prohibition Party, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  10. http://www.prohibitionists.org/history/votes/body_votes.html
  11. See the Wikipedia article on Prohibition Party § Presidential campaigns.
  12. http://www.andrewleunginternationalconsultants.com/files/chinas-supply-side-structural-reform-1.pdf
  13. See the Wikipedia article on List of political parties in China.
  14. Finland's Social Democrats declare general election victory, Guardian, 14 April 2019])
  15. Finnish government avoids collapse as True Finns split, Financial Times, 13 June 2017.
  16. The right-wing Finns Party does well in Finland’s election, The Economist 17 April 2019
  17. José M. Magone (2017). The Statecraft of Consensus Democracies in a Turbulent World: A Comparative Study of Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Taylor & Francis. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-315-40785-2. 
  18. [1]
  19. Well, allegedly. Despite a 500% increase in NHS privatization under their rule and a reclassification of what counts as healthcare – i.e., counting the bed that a patient stays in after an operation as "hotel fees".
  20. Conservative Muslim forum UK
  21. But, under the Tory majority government, elected a "minister for equalities" who voted against same-sex marriage rights.
  22. Blow for Cameron as 128 Tory MPs vote against gay marriage. New Statesman. Published 21 May 2013. (They really should have thought about renaming that article...)
  23. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10335923