Functions of political parties, Party systems - Fundamentals...

Political party functions

The role and significance of political parties in societies with different levels of economic, social and cultural development, specific historical and national traditions are not the same. However, we can distinguish some general functions of batches.

• The most important is the function of harmonizing and generalizing the diverse interests and needs of different groups and individuals. Formulation of these generalized interests in programs, requirements, slogans and, finally, bringing them to power structures is the content of the function of representing interests.

In addition, parties can perform both government functions, participating in the development, application and implementation of rules for the interaction of political institutions, subordinating or controlling the authorities.

• Representing and expressing the interests of social groups, bringing them to the authorities, the parties implement the communication function , i.e. ensure the interconnection of power and society.

• Cultivating certain values ​​and behavioral stereotypes by means of agitation and propaganda, political parties realize the function of political socialization, ie. transfer of political experience, traditions, culture to succeeding generations.

Finally, selecting the best candidates for leadership positions, the parties contribute to improving the quality of the elite. So the parties carry out the function of political recruiting.

In totalitarian systems, political parties can directly perform the functions of exercising power. Usually these are monopolistically ruling parties, which concentrate in their hands the entire volume of power functions (as in the former USSR).

Party Systems

Usually in a particular country there are several parties. The totality of political parties and the relationship between them constitute the party system . The number of parties in a particular country is the result of a multitude of factors: cultural and religious environment, traditions, economic development, social structure, etc.

Party systems differ in terms of quantitative and qualitative criteria.

By the quantitative criterion are distinguished:

a) one-party system , where one monopoly power party operates. Usually this system is typical for totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. An example is the party system in the former USSR;

b) two-party system , consisting of several parties, but with a noticeable predominance of the two, the most influential. A classic example of a bipartisan system is the United Kingdom, with the alternation of the Labor and Conservative parties in power. Although there are also social democratic, communist, and other parties in the country, their influence on society is very limited;

c) multi-party system , which assumes an active role in the political life of two or more parties. The number of parties reflects the presence of an extensive system of social interests. Such a party system seeks to seek compromises, since none of the parties has a clear political dominance. An example of multi-party system are the party systems of Western Europe. For example, in Italy there are 14 parties, in the Netherlands - more than 20, etc.

• The typology of parties and party systems can be built by a qualitative criterion (political weight), because the political parties operating on the political stage differ in the scale of influence on society and power. Political influence of the party consists of three variables: a) from among the party members; b) the number of voters who voted for it; c) the number of deputy mandates received by the party in elections.

Depending on the distribution of parliamentary seats in the parliament, parties differ in the degree of their influence on the process of making political decisions, i.e. by political weight. According to this criterion, four types of parties are distinguished:

1) majority party is the party that received the absolute majority of mandates and the right to conduct its own political course;

2) a party with a majority calling is a party in a situation of alternating parties in power, capable of winning the next election;

3) the dominant party is the party that received the relative majority of seats in the parliament;

4) Minority party - a party that has a minimum number of mandates.

Domination in the political life of the influence of a particular party determines the type of party system . Allocate party systems based:

a) on parties with a majoritarian vocation, i.e. the stable dominance over a long period of one ruling party (for example, the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, the Conservative Party in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s);

b) with the presence of a dominant party (such as, for example, Christian Democrats in Germany), forced to seek allies in the face of other parties to support their political course;

c) with a coalition of minority parties (this is inherent in the party systems of Belgium, the Netherlands). Such a party system is not a prerequisite for stable and effective governments.

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