What is Meant by a Two Party System?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

A Two Party System denotes a political scenario where only two major political parties have a realistic prospect of forming a government. One of the two parties would command a majority in the legislature and create a government. The United States, the United Kingdom, Malta, the Bahamas, and Zimbabwe have a two-party system.

Two Party System

A two-party system is characterized by the dominance of two major political parties over the political scene. At any one time, one of the two parties has a majority in the legislature and is known as the majority or governing party, while the other is known as the minority or opposition party. The phrase has several connotations around the world.

  • In certain countries with a two-party system, more than two parties may exist and participate in the election process.
  • However, only either of the two main parties would hold a serious chance of winning the election and forming a government.
  • The United States is a typical example of a two-party system.
  • Exaggerated contrasts between two-party and multiparty systems exist.

Advantages of a Two-Party System

It promotes stability in the government structure because only a single party can win a majority and govern. On the other hand, in multiparty systems, there is a possibility of a coalition of the government forming a parliamentary majority.

However, the weakness of the ties to form a coalition can threaten the government structure and cabinet in power. Lastly, having a two-party system also moderates the level of animosity and political strife between the candidates.

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