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One-party state

  (Redirected from One-party rule)

A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution.[1] All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows (at least nominally) democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.


One-party states explain themselves through various methods. Most often, proponents of a one-party state argue that the existence of separate parties runs counter to national unity. Others argue that the one party is the vanguard of the people, and therefore its right to rule cannot be legitimately questioned. The Soviet government argued that multiple parties represented the class struggle, which was absent in Soviet society, and so the Soviet Union only had one party, namely the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Some one-party states only outlaw opposition parties, while allowing allied parties to exist as part of a permanent coalition such as a popular front. However, these parties are largely or completely subservient to the ruling party and must accept the ruling party’s monopoly of power as a condition of their existence. Examples of this are the People's Republic of China under the United Front, the National Front in former East Germany and the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea in North Korea. Others may allow non-party members to run for legislative seats, as was the case with Taiwan’s Tangwai movement in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the elections in the former Soviet Union.

Within their own countries, dominant parties ruling over one-party states are often referred to simply as the Party. For example, in reference to the Soviet Union, the Party meant the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; in reference to the pre-1991 Republic of Zambia, it referred to the United National Independence Party.

Most one-party states have been ruled by parties forming in one of the following three circumstances:

  1. an ideology of Marxism–Leninism and international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union for most of its existence)
  2. some type of nationalist or fascist ideology (such as Italy under Benito Mussolini)
  3. parties that came to power in the wake of independence from colonial rule. One-party systems often arise from decolonization because a single party gains an overwhelmingly dominant role in liberation or in independence struggles.

One-party states are usually considered to be authoritarian, to the extent that they are occasionally totalitarian. On the other hand, not all authoritarian or totalitarian states operate upon one-party rule. Some, especially amongst absolute monarchies and military dictatorships, have no need for a ruling party, and therefore make all political parties illegal.

The term "communist state" is sometimes used in the West to describe states in which the ruling party subscribes to a form of Marxism–Leninism. However, such states may not use that term themselves, seeing communism as a phase to develop after the full maturation of socialism, and instead use descriptions such as "people's republic", "socialist republic", or "democratic republic". One peculiar example is Cuba where, despite the role of the Communist Party being enshrined in the constitution, no party, including the Communist Party, is permitted to campaign or run candidates for elections. Candidates are elected on an individual referendum basis without formal party involvement, although elected assemblies predominantly consist of members of the Communist Party alongside non-affiliated candidates.[2]


  One-party states

Current one-party statesEdit

De jure one-party statesEdit

As of 2019 the following countries are legally constituted as one-party states:

Country Head of party Party Head of popular front Popular Front Date of establishment Duration
  Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un, Chairman   Workers' Party of Korea Pak Myong-chol, President[3] Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea October 10, 1945 74 years, 35 days
  People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, General Secretary   Communist Party of China Wang Yang, Chairman of National CPPCC
You Quan, Head of the Department
United Front October 1, 1949 70 years, 44 days
  Republic of Cuba Raúl Castro, First Secretary   Communist Party of Cuba January 1, 1959 60 years, 317 days
  State of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki, Chairperson   People's Front for Democracy and Justice February 10, 1994 25 years, 277 days
  Lao People's Democratic Republic Bounnhang Vorachith, General Secretary   Lao People's Revolutionary Party Xaysomphone Phomvihane, President of the Standing Committee Lao Front for National Construction December 2, 1975 43 years, 347 days
  Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary   Communist Party of Vietnam Trần Thanh Mẫn, Chairman Vietnamese Fatherland Front April 30, 1975 44 years, 198 days

De facto one-party statesEdit

As of 2019 the following countries are one-party states in practice:[4]

Country Head of party Party Head of popular front Popular Front Date of establishment Duration
  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Brahim Ghali, Secretary-General   Polisario Front February 27, 1976 43 years, 260 days

Former one-party statesEdit

Former big tent modernist one-party statesEdit

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution
  Turkey   Republican People's Party 1923 1945
  Cameroon Cameroon People's Democratic Movement 1975 1990
  Tunisia Neo Destour 1963 1964
  Tunisia Socialist Destourian Party 1964 1981
  Republic of China   Kuomintang Mainland China: 1925
Taiwan: 1945
Mainland China: 1949
Taiwan: 1990
  Syrian Republic Arab Liberation Movement 1953 1954
  Republic of Afghanistan National Revolutionary Party 24/02/1977[5][6] 28/04/1978

Former left-wing one-party statesEdit

Country Party Front Date of establishment Date of dissolution
  Algeria National Liberation Front 1962 1989
  Bangladesh Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League 1974 1975
  Burma   Burma Socialist Programme Party 1962 1988
  Cape Verde African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde 1975 1980
African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde 1980 1990
  Central African Republic Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa 1962 1980
  Djibouti People's Rally for Progress 1977 1992
  Equatorial Guinea United National Workers' Party 1970 1979
  Egypt Arab Socialist Union 1962 1976
  Eritrea Eritrean People's Liberation Front 1993 1994
  • 1991
  • 1993
  Ghana Convention People's Party 1964 1966
  Guinea Democratic Party of Guinea – African Democratic Rally 1958 1984
  Guinea-Bissau African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde 1974 1991
  Indonesia Indonesian National Party 17 August 1945 3 November 1945
    Iraq Iraqi Arab Socialist Union 1964 1968
    Iraq   Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party National Progressive Front 1968 2003
  Libya Libyan Arab Socialist Union 1971 1977
  Democratic Republic of Madagascar National Front for the Defense of the Revolution 1976 1989
  Mali Democratic Union of the Malian People 1976 05/04/1991[7]
  Mauritania Mauritanian People's Party 1961 1978
  São Tomé and Príncipe Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party 1975 1990
  Senegal Socialist Party of Senegal 1966 1974
  Seychelles Seychelles People's Progressive Front 1977 1991
  Sierra Leone All People's Congress 1978 1991
  Democratic Republic of the Sudan Sudanese Socialist Union 1971 1985
  Syria Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party National Progressive Front 1963 2012
  Tanzania Chama Cha Mapinduzi 1977 1992
  Tanganyika Tanganyika African National Union 1961 1977
  Uganda Uganda People's Congress 1969 1971
  United Arab Republic National Union 1958 1961
  Xinjiang People's Anti-Imperialist Association 1935 1942
  Zambia United National Independence Party 1972 1990
  Zanzibar Afro-Shirazi Party 1964 1977

Former Marxist–Leninist one-party countriesEdit

Country Party Popular Front Date of establishment Date of dissolution
     Afghanistan   People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan National Fatherland Front December 24, 1980 July 27, 1990
   Democratic Government of Albania Party of Labour of Albania National Liberation Movement October 20, 1944 August 5, 1945
Democratic Front August 5, 1945 January 11, 1946
  People's Republic of Albania

  People's Socialist Republic of Albania

January 11, 1946 December 11, 1990
  People's Republic of Angola   People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola November 11, 1975 May 30, 1991
  Armenia Communist Party of Armenia December 2, 1920 December 30, 1922
      Azerbaijan Communist Party of Azerbaijan April 30, 1920 December 30, 1922
  Benin   People's Revolutionary Party of Benin November 30, 1975 March 1, 1990
     Bulgaria   Bulgarian Communist Party Fatherland Front September 15, 1946 January 15, 1990
  Byelorussia Communist Party of Byelorussia July 31, 1920 December 30, 1922
  Chinese Soviet Republic Communist Party of China 1930 1937
  Czechoslovakia   Communist Party of Czechoslovakia National Front February 25, 1948 December 29, 1989
    East Germany   Socialist Unity Party of Germany Democratic Bloc October 7, 1949 March 30, 1950
National Front of Democratic Germany March 30, 1950 1973
National Front of the German Democratic Republic 1973 December 1, 1989
  Estonia Russian Communist Party
(Central Committee of the Estonian Sections)
November 29, 1918 June 5, 1919
  Estonia Communist Party of Estonia July 21, 1940 August 9, 1940
  Ethiopia Workers' Party of Ethiopia September 12, 1984 February 22, 1987
  Ethiopia Workers' Party of Ethiopia February 22, 1987 April 28, 1991
  Georgia Communist Party of Georgia February 25, 1921 December 30, 1922
  Grenada New Jewel Movement March 13, 1979 October 25, 1983
Guangzhou Communist Party of China 1927 1927
Hunan Communist Party of China 1927 1927
     Hungary   Hungarian Working People's Party August 20, 1949 October 30, 1956
Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party November 4, 1956 October 7, 1989
Jinggang Communist Party of China 1927 1928
   Kampuchea   Communist Party of Kampuchea April 17, 1975 June 22, 1982
   Kampuchea Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party January 7, 1979 October 23, 1991
  Latvia Communist Party of Latvia December 17, 1918 January 13, 1920
  Latvia Communist Party of Latvia July 21, 1940 August 5, 1940
     Mongolia Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party 1921 July 29, 1990
     Mozambique   FRELIMO June 25, 1975 December 1, 1990
  North Vietnam Workers' Party of North Vietnam League for the Independence of Vietnam September 2, 1945 1946
Vietnamese National Popular Front 1951 1955
Vietnamese Fatherland Front 1955 July 2, 1976
  Lithuania Communist Party of Lithuania July 21, 1940 August 3, 1940
  Lithuania–Byelorussia Communist Party of Lithuania and Belorussia February 17, 1919 July 17, 1919
    People's Republic of the Congo Congolese Party of Labour January 31, 1969 June 1991
  Persia Communist Party of Persia May 1920 September 1921
   Poland   Polish United Workers' Party Front of National Unity February 5, 1947 July 1982
Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth July 1982 August 24, 1989
     Romania   Romanian Communist Party People's Democratic Front February 5, 1948 1968
Front of Socialist Unity 1968 1980
Front of Socialist Unity and Democracy 1980 December 29, 1989

    Soviet Russian Republic

    Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic

Russian Social Democratic Labour Party January 19, 1918 March 8, 1918[8]
Russian Communist Party March 8, 1918[8] December 30, 1922
  Somalia Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party July 1976 January 26, 1991
  South Yemen   Yemeni Socialist Party October 31, 1978 May 22, 1990
Southwest Jiangxi Communist Party of China 1930 1931
       Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Russian Communist Party December 30, 1922 December 31, 1925[8]
All-Union Communist Party December 31, 1925[8] October 13, 1952[8]
Communist Party of the Soviet Union October 13, 1952[8] October 9, 1990[9]
  Transcaucasia Communist Part of Armenia March 12, 1922 December 30, 1922
Communist Party of Azerbaijan March 12, 1922 December 30, 1922
Communist Party of Georgia March 12, 1922 December 30, 1922
        Tuva Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party August 14, 1921 October 11, 1944
  Ukraine Communist Party of Ukraine March 10, 1919 December 30, 1922
Yan'an Communist Party of China 1937 1949
  Yemen   Yemeni Socialist Party May 21, 1994 July 7, 1994
    Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia November 29, 1945 April 8, 1990

Former right-wing one-party statesEdit

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution
  Hawaii Reform Party 1894 1898
  Brazilian military regime ARENA[Note 1] 1964 1979 (one-party system)
1985 (entire regime)
  Gabon Gabonese Democratic Party 1968 1990
  Kingdom of Spain Spanish Patriotic Union 1924 1930
  Malawi Malawi Congress Party 1964 1993
  Iran Islamic Republican Party 1981 1987
  Niger National Movement for the Development of Society 1989 1991

Former fascist or nationalist one-party statesEdit

Country Party National front Date of establishment Date of dissolution
  Albanian Kingdom   Albanian Fascist Party 02/06/1939 27/07/1943
Guard of Greater Albania 27/07/1943 08/09/1943
  Albanian Kingdom National Front 14/09/1943 29/11/1944
  Federal State of Austria   Fatherland Front 01/05/1934 13/03/1938
   Republic of Burundi   Union for National Progress 11/07/1974 13/03/1992
   Republic of Cameroon Cameroonian National Union 01/09/1966[10] 24/03/1985
  Central African Republic Central African Democratic Union 01/03/1980 02/09/1981
Central African Democratic Rally 06/02/1987 22/04/1991[11]
  Republic of Chad Chadian Progressive Party 16/04/1962 06/04/1973
National Movement for the Cultural and Social Revolution 06/04/1973 13/04/1975
National Union for Independence and Revolution 1984 1990
  Comoros Comorian Union for Progress 1982 1990
  Independent State of Croatia Ustaša – Croatian Revolutionary Movement 10/04/1941 08/05/1945
  Dahomey Dahomeyan Unity Party 1961 1963
Dahomeyan Democratic Party 1963 1965
  Dominican Republic Dominican Party 1931 1961
  Egypt National Democratic Party 1956 1958
1961 1962
  El Salvador National Pro Patria Party 1931 1944
  Equatorial Guinea Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea 1987 1991
  Republic of Estonia Patriotic League National Front for the Implementation of the Constitution 09/03/1935 21/07/1940
    German Reich

  Greater German Reich

  National Socialist German Workers' Party 14/07/1933
  • 21/03/1939
  • 09/05/1945
  Guatemala Progressive Liberal Party 1931 1944
  Haiti National Unity Party 1957 1985
  Hungary   Arrow Cross Party 16/10/1944 07/05/1945
  India Azad Hind Dal 21/10/1943 18/08/1945
  Imperial State of Iran Rastakhiz Party 1975 1978
  Kingdom of Italy   National Fascist Party 17/05/1928[12]
  • 09/01/1939
  • 27/07/1943
  Italian Social Republic   Republican Fascist Party 13/09/1943 28/04/1945
  Ivory Coast Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire – African Democratic Rally 1960 1990
  Kenya Kenya African National Union 1982 1991
  Lithuania Lithuanian Nationalist Union 1927 1940
  Manchukuo   Concordia Association 01/04/1932[13] 01/05/1945[13]
  Reich Commissariat for the Occupied Dutch Territories   National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands 14/12/1941 06/05/1945
  Niger Nigerien Progressive Party – African Democratic Rally 1960 1974
  North Yemen General People's Congress 1982 1988
  Norway   National Gathering 01/02/1942 09/05/1945
  Ottoman Empire Committee of Union and Progress 1913 1918
  Paraguay Colorado Party 1947 1962
  Philippine Executive Commission   Association for Service to the New Philippines 08/12/1942 14/10/1943
  Republic of the Philippines   Association for Service to the New Philippines 14/10/1943 17/08/1945
  Portugal   National Union 30/07/1930[14] 08/10/1945[14]
31/01/1948[15] 25/04/1974
  Romania   National Renaissance Front 16/12/1938 21/06/1940
  Party of the Nation 21/06/1940 06/09/1940
  Iron Guard 14/09/1940 23/01/1941
  Rwanda Parmehutu 1965 1973
National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development 1978 1991
  San Marino Sammarinese Fascist Party 1926 1943
Republican Fascist Party of San Marino 1943 1944
  Slovak Republic   Hlinka's Slovak People's Party – Party of Slovak National Unity 14/03/1939 08/05/1945
  Spanish State   Falange 19/04/1937 06/07/1976[16]
  Sudan National Congress Party 1989 2005
  Togo Party of Togolese Unity 1962 1963
Rally of the Togolese People 1969 1991
  Turkmenistan Democratic Party of Turkmenistan 1992 2008
  Upper Volta Voltaic Democratic Union-African Democratic Rally 1960 1966
  Yugoslavia Yugoslav Radical Peasants' Democracy 1929 1931
  Zaire Popular Movement of the Revolution 1970 1990

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Although there was an official democratic opposition, the MDB, ARENA was de facto the only governing party.


  1. ^ Clark, William Roberts; Golder, Matt; Golder, Sona Nadenichek (2012-03-23). Principles of Comparative Politics. SAGE. ISBN 9781608716791.
  2. ^ Cuba: Elections and Events 1991–2001 Archived 2007-03-01 at the Wayback Machine Latin American Election Statistics Home
  3. ^ "Vietnam's Party, State delegation visits DPRK". Nhân Dân. NDO/VNA. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  4. ^ Article 32 of the SADR constitution states: The Polisario is the sole political formation allowed for Sahrawis to exercise politics until complete independence "Constitution of the SADR". Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  5. ^ Afghanistan: A Country Study
  6. ^ Afghanistan 1977
  7. ^ 24. Mali (1960-present)
  8. ^ a b c d e f The Constitution of the Russian Federation: A Contextual Analysis By Jane Henderson
  9. ^ Ideology And Political System By Kundan Kumar
  10. ^ The Search for a Cameroonian Model of Democracy or the Search for the Domination of the State Party: 1966-2006
  11. ^ Central African Republic Unions Strike for Democracy 1990-1993
  12. ^ Mediterranean Fascism 1919–1945
  13. ^ a b China at War: Regions of China, 1937-1945
  14. ^ a b 12th Period - Second Republic of Portugal
  15. ^ Fascism and Resistance in Portugal: Communists, Liberals and Military
  16. ^ Law 21/1976, of June 14, on the Right of Political Association.

External linksEdit