Parties and party systems - Party systems - Two-party systems

3 important questions on Parties and party systems - Party systems - Two-party systems

What are the three criteria's that classical two-party systems can be identified with?

1. Only two parties enjoy sufficient electoral and legislative strength of winning government power.
2.  The larger party is able to rule alone (majority); the other provides the opposition.
3. Power alternates between these parties.

What are the advantages of a two-party system?

- It makes possible a system of party government, supposedly characterized by stability, choice and accountability.
- Straightforward choice.
- Strong and accountable government.  
- Constantly confronted by an opposition.

What are the disadvantages of a two-party system?

- Periodic tendency towards adversary politics (deep disagreement between the two main political parties). This is reflected in ideological polarization and an emphasis on conflict and argument, rather than consensus and compromise.

- Two evenly matched parties are encouraged to compete for votes by outdoing each other's electoral promises, perhaps causing spiralling an public spending and fueling inflation.

- Restriction in terms of electoral and ideological choice.

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