The Merits and Demerits of the One-Party System

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If you’ve been searching for concise notes on the merits and demerits of a one-party system, then you have finally made it to the right place.

This tutorial will show you clearly the points to use for an answer to a question on the advantages and disadvantages of the one-party system of government.

Definition of one-party system

A one-party system exists in a state where only one political party has exclusive control over political power.

There is no official opposition in a one-party state. Power is concentrated in the hands of the party leader and there is only one ideology for the state.

Two types of the one-party system

A one-party system may be de-facto. This refers to a one-party system which has evolved by itself with the ruling party having considerable following.

On the other hand, it can be de jure. In this case, the party has been imposed by law and it is illegal to operate a different party in the state. It does not tolerate opposition.  

Examples of de jure one-party states are China, North Korea and Cuba.

Many African states adopted the one-party system just after gaining independence. Notable ones are Ghana, Zambia and Tanzania .

Merits of the one-party system

Here now are the notable merits or disadvantages of a one-party system.

1. It promotes national unity. All all citizens come under the umbrella of a single party to execute one common national agenda.

2. It can be used as an effective tool to rally the people for national development.

3. The one-party system prevents unnecessary waste of resources on political party competition. It avoids the dissipation of the energies of the limited human resource available to developing countries in particular on fragmented multi-party politics.

4. It is less expensive to operate. This is because the expensive competition associated with the multi-party system is absent.

5. It avoids the disruptive and destructive tendencies of an official opposition.

Demerits of the one-party system

Let’s now look at the demerits or disadvantages of the one-party system of government.

  1. It is undemocratic. Those in government are not the true representatives of the people. Moreover, one-party states are known to quickly degenerate into dictatorship and abuse of fundamental human rights.
  2. It breeds political instability. Dissidents whose views are suppressed resort to subversive activities to overthrow the government.
  3. It under utilizes the human resource of the country in question. Many talented citizens lose the opportunity to contribute their quota to national development just because they hold dissenting opinions. The nation is the ultimate loser.
  4. Efficiency in governance is compromised. There is no opposition party to criticize the government and put it on its toes.

Ralph spends his day working as an online entrepreneur and e-learning strategist. As a digital publishing trainer/consultant, he has developed exceptional skills in SEO-content writing. He writes extensively on lifelong learning and personal development issues. Ralph is the CEO of RN Digital Media Ent - a digital publishing & content marketing services platform he founded in 2017.

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