Major party

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A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Major party: a political party having electoral strength sufficient to permit it to win control of a government usually with comparative regularity and when defeated to constitute the principal opposition to the party in power.

— Merriam-Webster Dictionary online1

Major parties hold a significant percentage of the vote in elections and claim higher membership than minor parties. Typically, major parties have the most donors, best-organized support networks and excellent funding for elections. Their candidates for political positions are closely watched since they have the highest chance of being elected to office because of the high membership, recognition and donations that these parties are able to generate.

Two major parties can lead to a two-party system. If there is only one major party, then it is a dominant-party system. In a multi-party system, a major party is one that occasionally controls the presidency or premiership and is the most influential party in a coalition government.

List of major parties

Country Centre-left/Left-wing
major party
Centre-right/Right-wing
major party
Other major party Notes
Australia Australian Labor Party Liberal Party of Australia Federally (and in New South Wales) the Liberal Party of Australia is in coalition with the Nationals.
Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria Austrian People's Party Freedom Party of Austria
Canada Bulgarian Socialist Party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Canada New Democratic Party Conservative Party of Canada Liberal Party of Canada The Liberal party was a major federal party until 2011, when it won the fewest seats in its history.
Costa Rica Citizens' Action Party (PAC) National Liberation Party (PLN) Broad Front PLN define itself as "centrist" but is generally considered as more right-wing than PAC.
Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia Croatian Democratic Union
Denmark Social Democrats Venstre Danish People's Party The Danish People's Party is third largest, and is currently polling just behind the Social Democrats as second largest party. The Social Liberal Party also play a great role.
El Salvador FMLN ARENA Unity Movement
European Union Party of European Socialists European People's Party Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party
France Socialist Party Union for a Popular Movement
Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany Christian Democratic Union
Greece SYRIZA New Democracy Until the 2012 legislative election, Pasok was the major party of the centre-left.
Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance
Iceland Social Democratic Alliance Independence Party Progressive Party
India Indian National Congress Bharatiya Janata Party
Ireland Labour Party Fine Gael Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil was the most voted party in Ireland from 1932 to 2011, when it was returned in third place with just 17.4% of the vote.
Israel Israeli Labor Party Likud
Italy Democratic Party Forza Italia Five Star Movement Until 1992 the major party was the centrist Christian Democracy, which had been in government for five decades; the second one was the Italian Communist Party.
Japan Democratic Party Liberal Democratic Party New Komeito Party
South Korea Democratic United Party Saenuri Party -
Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party Christian Social People's Party Democratic Party
Malta Labour Party Nationalist Party
Mexico Party of the Democratic Revolution National Action Party Institutional Revolutionary Party
Netherlands Labour Party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
New Zealand Labour Party National Party
Norway Labour Party Conservative Party Progress Party
Portugal Socialist Party Social Democratic Party
Republic of China (Taiwan) Democratic Progressive Party Kuomintang
Singapore People's Action Party
Spain Swedish Social Democratic Party Moderate Party
Sweden Spanish Socialist Workers' Party People's Party
Turkey Republican People's Party Justice and Development Party
United Kingdom Labour Party Conservative Party Liberal Democrats From the 17th through mid-19th century, the Whigs and the Tories were the majors.
United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) Sinn Féin Democratic Unionist Party Social Democratic and Labour Party Despite being part of the UK, Northern Ireland does not use the main British political parties.
United States Democratic Party Republican Party In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Federalist Party, Democratic-Republican Party, and Whig Party were all major.
United States (Puerto Rico) Alliance Party New Progressive Party Popular Democratic Party Puerto Rico is the only country within the jurisdiction of America that does not use traditional American political parties.

See also

References









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