Much like our exploration of Electoral Systems in 4.1, the expectation at the end of this topic is that you are able to describe characteristics of political party systems and party membership. So let's get started 💪
The first key concept to discuss in this unit is how party systems and membership differ among course countries, ranging from dominant party systems to multi-party systems. Let's examine each of the course countries to see where each falls on this continuum of dominant to multi-party systems. Much of the information below is pulled directly from the AP Comparative Government CED (Course and Exam Description) which is always important because if the College Board mentions a specific example or description, there is a high probability that the information will appear on the AP Exam.
Comp Gov Course Country Parties
An authoritarian regime, China has rules that allow only one party, the Communist Party of China, to control governing power to maintain the values of centralism and order while allowing eight other parties to exist to broaden discussion and consultation. However, the parties do not have an opportunity to hold positions of power and authority.
A hybrid-regime, but moving back toward authoritarianism. Rules ensuring one-party dominance in Russia include increasing party registration requirements, allowing only legally registered parties to run for office, using selective court decisions to disqualify candidates, limiting the ability of political opposition to present their viewpoints in the media, increasing threshold rules to limit party access to the ballot, and eliminating gubernatorial elections. Unlike China, there are direct elections in Russia at the National level, but only candidates that the dominant party recognizes may run for office.
Emerging or procedural democracy. Rules that facilitate Mexico’s transition away from one-party dominance include eliminating el dedazo (a practice in which the President of Mexico would handpick his successor), privatizing state-owned corporations to decrease patronage, decentralizing and reducing one-party power at the subnational level, and establishing and strengthening the National Electoral Institute an autonomous, public organization responsible for organizing federal elections in Mexico.
Emerging or procedural democracy. Nigeria’s multiparty system includes 30 registered political parties, with two strong parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress of Nigeria (APC), and a third party having a degree of electoral success.
Substantive democracy. The United Kingdom’s party system features competition primarily between two major parties, the Conservative and Labour parties, which control the legislature and executive (with first-past-the-post election rules favoring the major parties). But minor parties with regional representation are also able to win some legislative representation. Catch-all political parties can earn support from groups with different characteristics, attracting popular support with ideologically diverse platforms. Some legislatures, such as the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, are highly organized by political parties with voting based on strict party discipline that influences policymaking.
Authoritarian regime. There are no organized or formal political parties.
Now that you can describe the party structure in each of our course countries, it is time to move onto Topic 4.4: Role of Political Party Systems, so that we can build on the knowledge you gained in Topic 4.3. Let’s go 😍
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