A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, 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. 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.


1 Concept 2 Examples

2.1 Current one-party states 2.2 Former one-party states

2.2.1 Former big tent one-party states 2.2.2 Former left-wing one-party states 2.2.3 Former Marxist-Leninist one-party countries 2.2.4 Former right-wing one-party states 2.2.5 Former fascist or nationalist one-party states 2.2.6 Former one-party governments with active opposition parties

3 See also 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

Concept[edit] 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
Soviet government
argued that multiple parties represented the class struggle, which was absent in Soviet society, and so the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
only had one party: The Communist Party. 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
Republic of China
under the United Front, the National Front in former East Germany
East Germany
and the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland in North Korea. Others may allow non-party members to run for legislative seats, as was the case with Taiwan's Tangwai movement
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 either by parties following the ideology of Marxism–Leninism
and international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
for most of its existence), or by parties following some type of nationalist or fascist ideology (such as Italy
under Benito Mussolini), or by parties that came to power in the wake of independence from colonial rule. One-party systems often arise from decolonization because one party has had 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 politically totalitarian. On the other hand, not all authoritarian or totalitarian states operate based on the one-party rule. But very few, especially absolute monarchies and certain military dictatorships, have no need for a ruling party, and they make all political parties illegal. The term "communist state" is often used in the West to apply to states in which the ruling party subscribes to a form of Marxism–Leninism. However, such states do not use that term themselves, seeing communism as a phase to develop after the full maturation of socialism, and instead often use the titles of "people's republic", "socialist republic", or "democratic republic". One peculiar example is Cuba. While the role of the Communist Party is enshrined in the constitution, no party is permitted to campaign or run candidates for election, including the Communists. Candidates are elected on an individual referendum basis without formal party involvement, though elected assemblies predominantly consist of members of the Communist Party alongside non-affiliated candidates.[1] Examples[edit]

Countries by their form of government:   Presidential republics with a full presidential system   Presidential republics with a semi-presidential system   Parliamentary republics with an executive president chosen by the parliament   Parliamentary republics with a ceremonial president, where the prime minister is the executive   Constitutional monarchies where executive power is vested in a prime minister   Constitutional monarchies, which have a separate head of government but where royalty hold political power   Absolute monarchies   Military dictatorships   One-party states   Countries that do not fit in any of the above listed systems (other systems or in transition)   No government

Current one-party states[edit] As of 2018[update] the following countries are legally constituted as one-party states:

Country Formerly Party Current leader Popular Front One-party state
One-party state

People's Republic
of China Federal semi-presidential republic under Beiyang rule (1912-15, 1916-28) One-party state
One-party state
under Kuomintang
military dictatorship (1928-49) ( Republic of China
Republic of China
(1912-1949)) Communist Party of China Xi Jinping, General Secretary United Front 1949

Democratic People's Republic
of Korea Dependent territory of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
(Korea under Japanese rule) Workers' Party of Korea Kim Jong-un, Chairman Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland 1948

of Cuba Military dictatorship
Military dictatorship
( Republic
of Cuba
(1902-1959)) Communist Party of Cuba Raúl Castro, First Secretary


Lao People's Democratic Republic Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
(Kingdom of Laos) Lao People's Revolutionary Party Bounnhang Vorachit, General Secretary Lao Patriotic Front 1975

Lao Front for National Construction

Socialist Republic
of Vietnam Marxist–Leninist
one-party socialist republic (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary Vietnamese Fatherland Front 1945

socialist provisional government (Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic
of South Vietnam)

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Colony
of Spain
(Spanish Sahara) Polisario Front Brahim Ghali


State of Eritrea Provisional government (Part of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia) People's Front for Democracy and Justice Isaias Afwerki


Former one-party states[edit]

Country Party Front Date of establishment Date of dissolution

Dahomey Dahomeyan Unity Party

1961 1963

Dahomeyan Democratic Party

1963 1965

 Estonia Patriotic League National Front for the Implementation of the Constitution 1935 1940

Former big tent one-party states[edit]

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution

 Cameroon Cameroon
People's Democratic Movement 1985 1990

Former left-wing one-party states[edit]

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

1964 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

 Djibouti People's Rally for Progress

1977 1992

 Egypt Arab Socialist Union

1962 1976

 Ghana Convention People's Party

1964 1966

 Guinea-Bissau African Party for the Independence of Guinea
and Cape Verde

1974 1991

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

 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 2011

 Tanzania Chama Cha Mapinduzi

1977 1992

 Tanganyika Tanganyika
African National Union

1961 1977

 Tunisia Socialist Destourian Party

1964 1981

 Uganda Uganda
People's Congress

1969 1971

 Zambia United National Independence Party

1972 1990

 Zanzibar Afro-Shirazi Party

1964 1977

Former Marxist-Leninist one-party countries[edit]

Country Party Popular Front Date of establishment Date of dissolution

Afghanistan People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan National Fatherland Front 1978 1990

Albania Party of Labour of Albania Democratic Front 1945 1946

Albania Party of Labour of Albania Democratic Front 1946 1991

Angola MPLA

1975 1991

Armenia Communist Party of Armenia

1920 1920

Azerbaijan Azerbaijani Democratic Party

1945 1946

Azerbaijan Communist Party of Azerbaijan

1920 1920

Benin People's Revolutionary Party of Benin

1975 1990

Bulgaria Bulgarian Communist Party Fatherland Front 1946 1990

Byelorussia Communist Party of Byelorussia

1920 1922

Chinese Soviet Republic Communist Party of China

1930 1937

Czechoslovakia Communist Party of Czechoslovakia National Front 1948 1989

East Germany

Democratic Bloc (led by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany) 1949 1950

National Front of Democratic Germany (led by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany) 1950 1973

National Front of the German Democratic Republic (led by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany) 1973 1989

Estonia Russian Communist Party (Central Committee of the Estonian Sections)

1918 1919

Estonia Communist Party of Estonia

1940 1940

Ethiopia Workers' Party of Ethiopia

1987 1991

Ethiopia Workers' Party of Ethiopia

1984 1987

Finland Communist Party of Finland

1939 1940

Georgia Communist Party of Georgia

1921 1922

Grenada New Jewel Movement

1979 1983

Guangzhou Communist Party of China

1927 1927

Hunan Communist Party of China

1927 1927

Hungary Hungarian Working People's Party

1949 1956

Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party

1956 1989

Jinggang Communist Party of China

1927 1928

Kampuchea Communist Party of Kampuchea

1975 1982

Kampuchea Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party

1979 1991

Latvia Communist Party of Latvia

1918 1920

Latvia Communist Party of Latvia

1940 1940

Mongolia Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party

1921 1990

Mozambique FRELIMO

1975 1990

North Vietnam

League for the Independence of Vietnam (led by the Workers' Party of North Vietnam) 1945 1946

Vietnamese National Popular Front (led by the Workers' Party of North Vietnam) 1951 1955

Vietnamese Fatherland Front (led by the Workers' Party of North Vietnam) 1955 1976

Lithuania Communist Party of Lithuania

1940 1940

Lithuania–Byelorussia Communist Party of Lithuania
Communist Party of Lithuania
and Belorussia

1919 1919

People's Republic
of the Congo Congolese Party of Labour

1969 1990

Persia Communist Party of Persia

1920 1921

Poland Polish United Workers' Party Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth 1947 1989


People's Democratic Front (led by the Romanian Communist Party) 1948 1968

Front of Socialist Unity (led by the Romanian Communist Party) 1968 1980

Front of Socialist Unity and Democracy (led by the Romanian Communist Party) 1980 1989

Russia Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

1917 1918

Russian Communist Party

1918 1922

Somalia Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party

1976 1991

South Yemen Yemeni Socialist Party

1978 1990

Southwest Jiangxi Communist Party of China

1930 1931

Soviet Union Russian Communist Party

1922 1925

All-Union Communist Party

1925 1952

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

1952 1990

Transcaucasia Communist Part of Armenia

1922 1922

Communist Party of Azerbaijan

1922 1922

Communist Party of Georgia

1922 1922

Tuvan Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party

1921 1944

Ukraine Communist Party of Ukraine

1919 1922

Yan'an Communist Party of China

1937 1949

Yemen Yemeni Socialist Party

1994 1994

Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia 1945 1990

Former right-wing one-party states[edit]

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution

 Gabon Gabonese Democratic Party 1968 1990

Hawaii Reform Party of Hawaii 1894 1898

 Iran Islamic Republican Party 1981 1987

 Ivory Coast Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire – African Democratic Rally 1960 1990

 Malawi Malawi
Congress Party 1964 1993

 Mali Democratic Union of the Malian People 1976 1991

 Niger National Movement for the Development of Society 1989 1991

 Rwanda National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development 1978 1991

  Republic of China
Republic of China
(Taiwan) Nationalist Party of China (Kuomintang) 1927/1949 1987[a]/1996[b][2]

Former fascist or nationalist one-party states[edit]

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution

Afghanistan National Revolutionary Party of Afghanistan 1974 1978

Albania Albanian Fascist Party 1939 1943

Guard of Greater Albania 1943 1943

Albania National Front 1943 1944

Austria Fatherland's Front 1934 1938

Belgium and Northern France Rexist Party 1940 1945

Vlaams Nationaal Verbond 1940 1944

Bulgaria Zveno 1934 1935

 Burundi Union for National Progress 1966 1992

 Cameroon Cameroon
National Union 1966 1985

 Central African Republic Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa 1962 1980

Central African Democratic Union 1980 1981

Central African Democratic Rally 1987 1991

 Chad Chadian Progressive Party 1962 1973

National Movement for the Cultural and Social Revolution 1973 1975

National Union for Independence and Revolution 1984 1990

of China Nationalist Party of China (Kuomintang) 1927 1949

 Comoros Comorian Union for Progress 1982 1990

Croatia Ustaša
– Croatian Revolutionary Movement 1941 1945

Dominican Republic Dominican Party 1931 1961

El Salvador National Pro Patria Party 1931 1944

 Equatorial Guinea United National Workers Party 1970 1979

Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea 1987 1991

 Egypt National Democratic Party 1956 1958

1961 1962


Bohemia and Moravia

National Socialist German Workers' Party

National Partnership





Guatemala Progressive Liberal Party 1931 1944

 Guinea Democratic Party of Guinea
– African Democratic Rally 1958 1984

Haiti National Unity Party 1957 1985


Government of National Unity

Arrow Cross Party 1944 1945

 Indonesia Indonesian National Party 1945 1945

Imperial State of Iran Rastakhiz Party 1975 1978


Cyrenaica East Africa Eritrea Fezzan Islands of the Aegean Libya Somaliland Tientsin Tripolitania

National Fascist Party

Muslim Association of the Lictor






Islands of the Aegean Tientsin

Republican Fascist Party 1943 1945


Kwantung Korea South Pacific Mandate Taiwan

Imperial Rule Assistance Association 1942 1945

 Kenya Kenya
African National Union 1982 1991

Lithuania Lithuanian Nationalist Union 1927 1940

 Mali Sudanese Union – African Democratic Rally 1960 1968

Manchukuo Concordia Association 1931 1945

Netherlands National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands 1941 1945

 Niger Nigerien Progressive Party – African Democratic Rally 1960 1974

 North Yemen General People's Congress 1982 1988


National Government

National Gathering 1942 1945

Ottoman Empire Committee of Union and Progress 1913 1918

Paraguay Colorado Party 1947 1962

Philippines KALIBAPI 1943 1945








São João Baptista de Ajudá

São Tomé and Príncipe


National Union 1937 1974


National Legionary State

National Renaissance Front 1938 1940

Iron Guard 1940 1941

 Rwanda Parmehutu 1965 1973

San Marino Sammarinese Fascist Party 1926 1943

Republican Fascist Party
Republican Fascist Party
of San Marino 1943 1944

Slovakia Hlinka's Slovak People's Party
Slovak People's Party
– Party of Slovak National Unity 1939 1945



North Africa

Spanish Patriotic Union 1924 1930



North Africa

Traditionalist Spanish Phalanx of the Committees of the National Syndicalist Offensive 1938 1975

 Sudan National Congress Party 1989 2005

Syrian Republic Arab Liberation Movement 1953 1954

 Togo Party of Togolese Unity 1962 1963

Rally of the Togolese People 1969 1991

 Tunisia Neo Destour 1963 1964

Socialist Destourian Party 1964 1981

 Turkmenistan Democratic Party of Turkmenistan 1992 2008

 United Arab Republic National Union 1958 1961

Upper Volta African Democratic Rally 1960 1966

Yugoslavia Yugoslav National Party 1929 1931

Zaire Popular Movement of the Revolution 1970 1990

Former one-party governments with active opposition parties[edit]

Country Party Date of establishment Date of dissolution

 Turkey Republican People's Party 1923 1945

See also[edit]

Ban on factions in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Political organisation Dominant-party system Political factionalism Outline of democracy Multi-party system Two-party system List of political party songs


^ End of military state of emergency ^ First direct presidential election


^ Cuba: Elections and Events 1991–2001 Archived 2007-03-01 at the Wayback Machine. Latin American Election
Statistics Home ^ "Why Taiwan
ended one-party rule and embraced democracy". South China Morning Post. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2018. Until 1987, democracy was a political taboo, much as it is on the mainland. In fact, fully-fledged democracy started taking shape in Taiwan
only in 1996 when the island held its first direct presidential election. 

External links[edit]

Map of One Party States, 1945-95 One-party states in Africa BBC List of One-Party Regimes

v t e

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