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Political parties, role of political parties in democracy

Political parties are formed by groups of people who wish to win control of the government. In democratic countries, such groups have to win the support of the people who elect candidates from the party of their choice. Many democratic countries such as the United States and Canada have a two-party system, where two major parties compete for office. One party generally supports conservative policies and the other is usually more radical. Before political campaigns, parties adopt political platforms or programs, which they present to the people. The program sets out what the party plans to do if it is elected.

Role of political parties in democracy: Lyndon Johnson

Many countries in the West have two or more major political parties, which fight election campaigns in order to gain control of the government. In this picture, Lyndon Baines Johnson, United States president from 1963-9, greets a crowd in Los Angeles, California, during the 1964 election campaign, in which he successfully stood as Democratic Party candidate

In the United States, the two main parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. The president is the leader of his party. The leader of the other party is usually the presidential candidate who was defeated at the last presidential election. Parties owe their strength to their organization at a national and at a local level. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have national committees, state committees and county committees. At precinct level, the parties generally have a precinct committeeman or precinct captain. His political campaign is to get people to vote for his party on Election Day.

Role of political parties in democracy still an interesting theme for research. Some countries have more than two parties. In most of Europe there are Christian-Democratic and Socialist parties. In Finland, France, and Italy there are strong Communist parties as well. In other countries there are various Liberal parties. Where no single party has a majority, several combine to form a coalition to form a government. Parties may bring together people of the same social class or the same religion that is one of the democracy signs.

For example, most socialist parties usually get more support from manual workers than nonsocialist parties do. Christian-Democratic parties unite people who support definite Christian policies. In Africa and Asia, there are Muslim parties.

In Communist countries, the Communist party is either the only party or it dominates a coalition of several parties. In many African and Asian countries, a one-party system of government now exists. In such countries, the people cannot change the government by elections. This is sometimes a stable form of government that permits leaders to introduce strong measures to eliminate poverty. But this system can also lead to tyranny.

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