AIOU Solved Assignment 1&2 Code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021


AIOU Solved Assignments code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021 Assignment 1& 2  Course: Political Parties & Pressure Groups in Pakistan (545)   Spring 2021. AIOU past papers

Political Parties & Pressure Groups in Pakistan  (545) Semester
Autumn & Spring 2021

AIOU Solved Assignment 1& 2 Code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021

Q.No.1  What is party membership? How do you measure the strength and weakness of a party?    

Political parties are organized groups of people with similar ideas or ideology about the function and scope of government, with shared policy goals that work together to elect individuals to political office, to create and implement policies, to further an agenda, and to gain control of the government and the policy-making process. Parties gain control over the government by winning elections with candidates they officially sponsor or nominate for positions in government. Political parties nominate candidates to run many levels of government including the national level, Congress, and the presidency; but, they nominate for state and local levels as well. They also coordinate political campaigns and mobilize voters.

In Federalist No. 10, written in the late eighteenth century, James Madison noted that the formation of self-interested groups, which he called factions, was both natural and inevitable in any society. Interest groups and political parties are two of the most easily identified forms of faction in the United States.

Political parties are points of access/linkage institutions available to the public, though they are not themselves government institutions. Neither interest groups nor political parties are directly mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Where interest groups often work indirectly to influence our leaders, political parties are organizations that try to directly influence public policy through nominating and officially sponsoring members who seek to win and hold public office. This is a key difference. Interest groups do not officially nominate or nominate candidates for public office, although they may support them politically and even contribute dollars to their campaign.

Parties accomplish this by identifying and aligning sets of issues that are important to voters in the hopes of gaining support during elections. In this respect, parties provide choices to the electorate, something they are doing that is in sharp contrast to their opposition. These positions on these critical issues are often presented in campaign documents or political advertising. During a national presidential campaign, they also frequently reflect the party platform, which is adopted at each party’s presidential nominating convention every four years.

If successful, a party can create a large enough electoral coalition to gain control of the government. Once in power, the party is much more likely to be able to deliver, to its voters, the policy preferences they choose by electing its partisans to the government.Political parties organize political campaigns to win public office for those they nominate.

As with the review of approaches to measuring election quality this will not be an exhaustive assessment but will highlight several key elements to consider for all approaches.

Figure 3 classifies the approaches according to their strength as measures of electoral quality and their scope of inquiry. “Strength” is understood as the degree to which an approach follows a robust methodology, is focused on one or more aspects of an election, and includes a specific rationale for its findings. “Scope” relates to the degree of focus and detail related to electoral quality.

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Table 1 provides a summary comparison of the approaches to measuring electoral quality described above against the following key points:

  • The nature of the implementers
  • Scope and focus
  • Methodology for data collection
  • Outputs
  • Highlights of strengths/weaknesses of approach

Public Opinion Polls

Opinion polls of all types have value in that they report on a range of perceptions on important issues related to democracy and electoral quality.  At the global level they may offer useful comparative insights and at the national level signal key areas of achievement or concern. Their specific value with regard to measuring electoral quality is relatively limited but they can serve as one of several tools that can capture important data about public perceptions. They may capture general public attitudes about democracy and the electoral process but also more specific feedback, for example, to a political party about how well their messages are being received by the public or indicate to an EMB that voter information is being disseminated and understood.

Democracy Assessments

Global democracy indices provide a macro and comparative perspective on the broad questions of democracy and governance. They also offer the confidence associated with numerical scores and ranking even if those scoring systems rely on a great deal of qualitative (and subjective) analysis.

While a score based on a numeric figure may provide the impression of a solid value, it should also be interrogated.  An obvious challenge for any such framework is deciding on which factors to consider and how to weight them against the other factors included or excluded from the framework. The number of indicators included in a democracy survey (e.g. 10 vs 80) may also affect the level of detail and timeliness of the survey results.

A second challenge is the level of detail captured by the index. A generalized democracy survey may include measures of fundamental human rights and political freedoms, but relatively few specific measures of electoral quality.

National level democracy assessments hold more potential to provide in-depth measures of the strength of government institutions, the rule of law and operation of the judiciary, respect for individual political rights, the operation of civil society organizations and political parties and the like. However, it is possible but unlikely for a national democracy assessments (whether conducted by intergovernmental organizations, national governments, or non-governmental organizations and scholars) to offer detailed assessment of electoral quality or electoral actors.  This may be a thematic area in which further work could occur.

It is notable that democracy and elections are key elements of so many intergovernmental and regional organizations. In terms of electoral quality, the value of either their EOMs or other forms of periodic review and assessment they may conduct rests with the degree to which they follow a clear methodology and commit themselves to holding one another accountable through follow up on reform and implementation.

Election Management Assessment

Post-election reviews by EMBs, election assistance providers, and national stakeholders hold a great deal more potential than is currently the case and if fully implemented by for example, not only the EMB but also the judiciary and other government structures they could serve as effective platforms for electoral reform. In the case of donors and election assistance providers, they can provide incentives for policy changes and improvements.

Certification is a tool used infrequently and only in special circumstances such as transitional elections in which an outside actor (e.g. the UN) is involved in a range of peacekeeping and/or state-building activities. The methodology for certification is thus highly contextualized and perhaps unsuited to broader generalization. It draws however on other existing methodologies used by other actors.

AIOU Solved Assignment 1& 2 Code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021

Q.No.2  What is meant by public pressure groups? Distinguish between pressure from civil organization and pressure from military.

Pressure groups are collections of individuals who hold a similar set of values and beliefs based on ethnicity, religion, political philosophy, or a common goal. Based on these beliefs, they take action to promote change and further their goals. For example, members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) share a common belief that, in turn, influences the actions (e.g., advocacy, public awareness programs, policy research) they use to achieve their goals.

Pressure groups often represent viewpoints of people who are dissatisfied with the current conditions in society, and they often represent alternative viewpoints that are not well represented in the mainstream population. By forming a pressure group, people seek to express their shared beliefs and values and influence change within communities and sociopolitical structures, such as governments and corporations. Some pressure groups, such as the tobacco-control movement, have been successful at influencing change across a number of sociopolitical structures.

Pressure groups are different from political parties. Political parties seek to create change by being elected to public office, while pressure groups attempt to influence political parties. Pressure groups may be better able to focus on specialized issues, whereas political parties tend to address a wide range of issues.

Pressure groups are widely recognized as an important part of the democratic process. Some groups offer opportunities and a political voice to people who would traditionally be thought of as disadvantaged or marginalized from the mainstream population. In this way, pressure groups strengthen the democratic process by giving a voice to a variety of people. Pressure groups also offer alternatives to the political process by providing opportunities for expressing opinions and a desire for change.

While pressure groups are acknowledged as potentially beneficial to a democratic society, problems can arise when the democratic process becomes dominated by a few specific groups. In this situation, the voice of a small group of people with a particular interest can become overly influential and negatively affect the rights of other individuals. In the democratic process, there is a need for compromise in order to reach consensus regarding the common good. If pressure groups remain rigid and refuse to compromise on specific issues, they can potentially monopolize the democratic process by focusing public debate on a few specific issues.

Pressure groups may adopt a variety of strategies to achieve their goals, including lobbying elected officials, media advocacy, and direct political action (e.g., organized protests). Clearly, some pressure groups exert more influence than others. The degree to which such groups are able to achieve their goals may depend on their ability to be recognized as legitimate by the population, media, and by those in power. For example, civil rights groups, trade unions, and professional associations are more widely recognized and accepted than a newly formed, single-issue pressure group.

Significant gains in public health have been achieved because of efforts by pressure groups, including important changes and advances in public health issues such as tobacco control, occupational health and safety, air pollution, and HIV/AIDS.

Pressure groups can fulfill a valuable function within public health. They have the potential to raise the profile of previously marginalized issues and force action to improve the health of their members, as well as the health of the general population. For example, mental health service consumers have joined together to form pressure groups that have identified the issue of homelessness as an unintended consequence of deinstitutionalization. Initiatives spawned by these groups aim to improve living conditions for the homeless. These actions have provided benefits not only to the homeless, they have also positively affected the well-being of entire communities.

Individual pressure groups can form larger coalitions to advance their cause more effectively. The tobacco-control movement provides an excellent example of how a variety of pressure groups can work together across sectors and at many different levels to affect change. This movement has successfully pulled together many organizations under the umbrella of the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids. Members include organizations from a number of sectors including health (American Public Health Association), education (American Federation of Teachers), medical (American Medical Association), civic (Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights), corporate (Adventist Health Care), youth (Girl Scouts of the USA), and religious (National Council of Churches).

Too often during the last decades, research (including our own) on military organizations have been focusing on adaptation of military organizations to various transformation processes (Moskos et al. 2000, Forster 2006, Szvircsev and Leuprecht 2010, King 2011, Bergström et al. 2014, Farrell et al. 2014, Holmberg and Hallenberg 2017). This literature does not, however, question how the military organization is viewed and conceptualized in terms of its basic characteristics. We problematize military organizational characteristics theoretically, and relate these to different pressures for change with the help of empirical examples from the Swedish armed forces. In this way, we are able to enhance our understanding of the challenges the military are facing today and in the future. The research design could be termed a plausibility probe that expose the inconsistency of traditional military organizational characteristics with 21st century demands. We do not claim that our results are applicable in every military organization in the Western world – and recognize that there are large national differences. However, we do argue that military organizations are perceived in research (which will be developed below) to hold similar traits. If this understanding is accepted, then the results may be very valuable for research on, in particular, the civil-military relations of the coming decades.

In our research, we have started to direct interest towards the implications of military organizational characteristics that are out of tune with societal developments. We have analyzed in more detail the strategies of leaders within the military organization in managing pressures for change and the fragmentation of the military organization in the context of 21st century transformations (Alvinius, Holmberg and Johansson, 2019). We have also been studying the #Metoo movement as a public expression of internal resistance towards the military (Alvinius and Holmberg, 2019). In order to elaborate on how military organizational characteristics relate to different pressures for change, we need to identify these pressures. The concept of transformation in the security and defence field have been understood in a broad manner, incorporating different trends and major reforms that can be said to incorporate some kind of pressures for change. We draw on the literature relating to security and defence transformation since the end of the Cold War, and choose to sort this literature in three broad categories of pressures for change: structural, normative and functional (see further below). The sorting of pressures for change into categories is something of a superficial exercise, but no one familiar with this literature will be surprised, and we consider the categorization justified as the aim is not to point to casual relations, but to problematize the relationship between the processes and military organizational characteristics.

AIOU Solved Assignment 1& 2 Code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021

Q.No.3  Explain the origin growth and characteristics of party leadership.      

In a governmental system, a party leader acts as the official representative of their political party. The party leader is typically responsible for managing the party’s relationship with the general public. As such, they will take a leading role in developing and communicating party policy, especially election platforms, to the electorate. They are also typically the public face of the respective party and the principal media contact.

In many representative democracies, party leaders compete directly for high political office. It is thus typical in such states (e.g., in the Westminster system) for the party leader to seek election to the legislature, and, if elected, to simultaneously serve as the party’s parliamentary leader.

The United States government has party leaders in the legislative branch of government. The President, currently Donald Trump, becomes the de facto leader of the party they represent once elected, and the Vice President, currently Mike Pence, likewise holds a leadership role as both the second-highest executive officer as well as being the President of the Senate.

The legislative branch, otherwise known as the United States Congress, is made up of the upper chamber, the Senate, and the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, with party-elected leaders in each. The leader of the party with most the representation (sometimes called the party-in-power) in each case is known as the majority leader, whereas the leader of the opposing party with the most members is known as the minority leader.

Party leaders in the United States Senate have been elected by popular vote since 1913. They currently include President of the Senate Mike Pence, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Chuck Grassley, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Thune on the Republican side, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin on the Democratic side.

The Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in the House by secret ballot. The Republican Party is currently represented in the House by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, whereas the Democratic Party is represented by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. In the House of Representatives, the most powerful official is the House-elected Speaker, currently Nancy Pelosi of the Democratic Party.

  • In some political parties, the parliamentary members of the party vote to elect the leader. Parliamentary members are senators and members of the House of Representatives.
  • In other political parties, both parliamentary members and non-parliamentary members of the party get a say in the leader of their party.
  1. Social Astuteness– the ability to observe others and to accurately understand them. Socially astute leaders are good at reading people’s non-verbal behaviors and can intuitively sense the motivations of others.
  2. Interpersonal Influence – the ability to influence others using a compelling interpersonal style. In particular, leaders with strong interpersonal influence are good at establishing rapport with others, they communicate well with others, and thus, they are also good at getting others to like them. Getting others to like them, in turn, helps them influence others more easily.
  3. Networking Ability– the ability to establish relationships with others. People with high networking ability have strong ties with many people, including influential people at work. They are particularly skilled at leveraging their networks to obtain the needed resources to accomplish both personal and organizational tasks.
  4. Apparent Sincerity– involves being transparent, honest, and sincere with others. Leaders with apparent sincerity believe their word is their bond – they do what they say they will do.
  5. Image Management– the ability to intuitively know what to say to influence others and knowing how to make a good impression on others.


A good leader is a self actualized leader. Self actualization is the highest form of human growth, someone who is self actualized is a fully functioning human being. In the past, I have written extensively about the characteristics of self actualized people which can be applied to this article, as well. But the characteristics below are unwaveringly related to a good leader. It is worth to pay attention to these and take them into consideration when we’re making a choice as to whom we chose as a leader. A good leader:

  1. Is fair and objective.A good political leader does not take what is similar to his views as facts and base his decisions on that. He uses reliable and unfiltered information to make judgments and to come up with resolutions. In other words, he stands above his own believes to observe events objectively while the general public fails to do so. In addition, he does not suffer from a self serving bias.
  2. Is moving above himself and serving the society.A good leader stands above any specific religious or political views of his own and is independent of any attachment to a specific agenda. His personal beliefs become his private matters and he learns to leave them out the door once he steps into a leadership role. In other words, his belief expands so that it includes everyone’s beliefs.
  3. Is not seeking fame and attention: A good leader has been able to move above and beyond any egoistic and primitive need for power, attention, or establishing his personal agendas and works with the intention of good-for-all.
  4. Is not into hiding the truth for the sake of looking good.A good leader says it as it is even if it feels uncomfortable for many to hear it. He is not a people pleaser in a sense that he would say anything to please others even if that means manipulating or misguiding the public. It takes a lot of courage to do this and a good leader has that courage.
  5. Is focused on specific, achievable, and measurable goals and demands outcomes. A good leader is focused and does not get distracted. His goals, whether small or large, are reasonable and achievable and are directed towards the long term results not quick and temporary fixes that may backfire.
  6. Encourages people to be accountable for their actions.A good leader helps people understand that they are accountable for their society and its outcome and teaches them to make compromises and responsible choices. He does not support a sense of self-serving entitlement that has gone too far and is counter-productive for the society as a whole.
  7. Does not pay attention to being politically correct but ethically so. A good leader understands that in order for the whole society to be a functional and healthy one, some adjustments need to be made and people need to learn to give some in order to gain some.
  8. Does not make idealistic promises but realistic ones.A good leader makes a sustainable promise and is a man of his words.
  9. Is honest even if it does not get approval.People know where they are standing with an authentic leader. He does not hide bad news just because it is uncomfortable to the public’s ear.
  10. Thinks globally and acts locally.He realizes that in order for us to live in prosperity as a powerful and blessed country, reasonable steps need to be taken to make sure others achieve the same goals. He is aware that with power comes responsibility and that now more than ever, through technology, we are becoming more and more inner related, globally.
  11. Takes personal responsibility.A good leader is secure enough with himself to take personal responsibility when one is needed. In other words, a good political leader has an internal locus of control while he is aware of the effects of the external forces.
  12. Remains level headed and has a sense of humor.A good political leader has a healthy emotional IQ and has learned to move above his emotions, conditionings, and his fixations to specific outcomes to think logically and globally. In other words, he is rational and in control of his emotions and when the public is going through the emotional roller coaster, he is there to guide them through it.
  13. Has a curious mind.A good leader is thirsty for factual, expert oriented and unbiased knowledge all the time and on all levels.
  14. Does not make himself look good by assaulting others.A leader that can be trusted does not take others down for himself to go up. He is more of a collaborator than a competitor. He tries to build bridges rather than destroy them. He is a natural mediator rather than one that creates conflict, tension, and separation.

AIOU Solved Assignment 1& 2 Code 545 Autumn & Spring 2021

Q.No.4  Define political party. Evaluate Pakistan People’s Party in the light of its ideology social foundations continuity of leadership structure and organization.    

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was founded by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1967, with an aim to implement the ideology of what he called Islamic socialism.

Key figures

  • Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
  • Asif Ali Zardari
  • Sherry Rehman
  • Raza Rabbani
  • Syed Khursheed Shah

Key issues

  • Calls for maximum provincial autonomy
  • Has for much of its history stood against intervention from military as well as judiciary in the matters of governance and policy-making
  • Advocates labour rights and equal distribution of wealth amongst members of society
  • Calls for a focus on the growth of small and medium enterprises
  • Believes in resolving differences with India through dialogue
  • Believes in maintaining friendly ties with US, Saudi Arabia as well as neighbouring states

Elections 2018

PPP has fielded candidates from 247 NA seats — out of these 128 seats are from Punjab, 60 from Sindh, 31 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 from Balochistan, 11 from Fata and three from Islamabad.

Major political plays

  • It was during PPP’s first tenure that Pakistan’s first Constitution was drafted and passed in 1973.
  • Under Zulfikar Bhutto, PPP announced the nationalisation of all major industries.
  • In order to reduce social inequality and live up to its promise to end feudalism, the PPP pushed for and implemented land reforms during Zulfikar Bhutto’s regime
  • Under Zulfikar Bhutto, PPP established Port Qasim, Pakistan Steel Mills and the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC)
  • Pakistan’s nuclear programme was initiated during PPP’s first power stint.
  • During her brief stints in government, from 1988 to 1990 and then from 1993 to 1996, Z A Bhutto’s daughter and iconic PPP leader Benazir Bhutto set up women police stations, issued start-up loans to women, recognised women’s rights as human rights in the 1993 Vienna Declaration, and appointed female judges to the superior judiciary etc.
  • The PPP also strove to bring Balochistan back into the national mainstream by increasing the province’s share in the NFC Award.The party during its 2008-2013 tenure at the centre also brought forward a so-called Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan package to address the province’s grievances.
  • The 18th Amendment reducing presidential powers and giving greater autonomy to the provinces was passed during the PPP’s 2008-2013 tenure
    • In 2008, PPP established the Benazir Income Support Programme which is a federal unconditional cash transfer poverty reduction programme
  • The party that gave the Muslim world its first female prime minister appointed Fehmida Mirza as the National Assembly speaker, the first female NA speaker in Pakistan’s history, in 2008. It later nominated Sherry Rehman to head the opposition following the 2018 Senate elections, making her Pakistan’s first female opposition leader in the Upper House.

Criticism and controversy

  • In 1978, Z A Bhutto was hanged on charges of conspiring to kill Mohammad Ahmed Kasuri. That trial remains controversial to date.
  • Benazir’s governments were marred by corruption scandals involving herself and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Her first government was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 and her second government was sent packing by Farooq Leghari in 1996.
  • Though she escaped the 2007 Karsaz twin blasts alive, Benazir was murdered at a political rally in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh. The party leadership was then handed to her son Bilawal.
  • The PPP government managed to complete its term when it came to power in 2008. However, its tenure was not without controversies and was marred with corruption allegations against Zardari. One of its prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani was sent packing on contempt of court charges for failing to write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen a corruption case involving Zardari.
  • The ties between Pakistan and the US took a nosedive during the PPP’s 2008-2013 tenure following a raid by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad that led to the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
  • The poor state of healthcare in Sindh’s Thar region led to countless deaths, particularly those of newborns. Yet, the PPP, which has been in power in the province for the past 10 years has failed to effectively address the situation.
  • The more recent controversy to strike PPP is the questions that have been raised around its role in the political turmoil in Balochistanearlier this year and its role in the 2018 Senate elections.
  • Its top leaders, Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, are currently under scrutiny over an investigation into fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth billionsconducted through several mainstream banks. The fake accounts were allegedly used for channeling funds received through heavy bribes and kickbacks.

Q.No.5 Evaluate multi-party system with reference to establishment of political stability.  

A multi-party system is wheremany parties compete for power and government will often pass between coalitions formed by different combinations of parties (e.g. Italy, Israel). This is distinct from other party systems, particularly the two party system, where power and government passes between only two parties.

In the vast majority of multi-party systems, numerous major and minor political parties will hold a serious chance of holding office. This level of competition means that it is unlikely that one party will control the country’s legislature, which forces the creation of a coalition.

Multi-party systems are far more commonin countries that use proportional representation as their election system than countries that use first past the post elections. It tends to reflect better the range of a population’s views.

The UK has been edging towards a multi-party system in the past few years. The use of proportional representation in elections other than Westminster means the electorate have got used to voting for smaller parties, which helps explain why they make up 33% of the vote even for the Westminster General election.

UKIP achieved 124 second places in the 2015 election, and the SNP won 56 seats. Anyone who could mobilise the 33% of the population who didn’t vote could actually win. Some now argue that the voting system should change to reflect this move to multi-party politics.

multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national election, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coalition.[1] Apart from one-party-dominant and two-party systems, multi-party systems tend to be more common in parliamentary systems than presidential systems and far more common in countries that use proportional representation compared to countries that use first-past-the-post elections. Several parties compete for power and all of them have reasonable chance of forming government.

First-past-the-post requires concentrated areas of support for large representation in the legislature whereas proportional representation better reflects the range of a population’s views. Proportional systems may have multi-member districts with more than one representative elected from a given district to the same legislative body, and thus a greater number of viable parties. Duverger’s law states that the number of viable political parties is one, plus the number of seats in a district.

Argentina, Armenia, Brazil, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Tunisia, and Ukraine are examples of nations that have used a multi-party system effectively in their democracies. In these countries, usually no single party has a parliamentary majority by itself. Instead, multiple political parties are compelled to form compromised coalitions for the purpose of developing power blocks and attaining legitimate mandate.

A system where only two parties have the possibility of winning an election is called a two-party system. A system where only three parties have a realistic possibility of winning an election or forming a coalition is sometimes called a “Third-party system”. But, in some cases the system is called a “Stalled Third-Party System,” when there are three parties and all three parties win a large number of votes, but only two have a chance of winning an election. Usually this is because the electoral system penalises the third party, e.g. as in Canadian or UK politics. In the 2010 UK elections, the Liberal Democrats gained 23% of the total vote but won less than 10% of the seats due to the first-past-the-post electoral system. Despite this, they still had enough seats (and enough public support) to form coalitions with one of the two major parties, or to make deals in order to gain their support. An example is the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition formed after the 2010 general election. Another is the Lib-Lab pact during Prime Minister James Callaghan’s Minority Labour Government; when Labour lost its three-seat majority in 1977, the pact fell short of a full coalition. In Canada, there are three major federal political parties: the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party. However, in recent Canadian history, the Liberals and Conservatives (and their states) have been the only two parties to elect a Prime Minister in Canada, with the New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party often winning seats in the House of Commons. The main exception was the 2011 Canadian election when the New Democrats were the Official Opposition and the Liberal Party was reduced to third party status.

Unlike a one-party system (or a two-party system), a multi-party system encourages the general constituency to form multiple distinct, officially recognized groups, generally called political parties. Each party competes for votes from the enfranchised constituents (those allowed to vote). A multi-party system prevents the leadership of a single party from controlling a single legislative chamber without challenge.

If the government includes an elected Congress or Parliament, the parties may share power according to proportional representation or the first-past-the-post system. In proportional representation, each party wins a number of seats proportional to the number of votes it receives. In first-past-the-post, the electorate is divided into a number of districts, each of which selects one person to fill one seat by a plurality of the vote. First-past-the-post is not conducive to a proliferation of parties, and naturally gravitates toward a two-party system, in which only two parties have a real chance of electing their candidates to office. This gravitation is known as Duverger’s law. Proportional representation, on the other hand, does not have this tendency, and allows multiple major parties to arise. But, recent coalition governments, such as that in the U.K., represent two-party systems rather than multi-party systems. This is regardless of the number of parties in government

A two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles. Some theories argue that this allows centrists to gain control. On the other hand, if there are multiple major parties, each with less than a majority of the vote, the parties are strongly motivated to work together to form working governments. This also promotes centrism, as well as promoting coalition-building skills while discouraging polarization.


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