International

The longest and the oldest ruling political parties in the world

An African National Congress supporter holds a placard with the face of Cyril Ramaphosa, during the party's final rally at Ellispark stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 5, 2019.

An African National Congress supporter holds a placard with the face of Cyril Ramaphosa, during the party's final rally at Ellispark stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 5, 2019.  

The African National Congress party retained power in South Africa by securing 58% of the votes in the recent Parliamentary election. This is the 25th consecutive year, the party will be in power, after Nelson Mandela swept the polls in 1994, following the defeat of the apartheid.

ANC’s consistent performance in a multi-party system like South Africa is a rarity. Analysis of the 497 political parties that have ruled world-over since 1975 shows that nations with a single-party system have had political parties ruling the longest in the world, while multi-party systems have seen frequent changes in the ruling party.

For instance, the Democratic and Republican parties of the United States have existed for more than 160 years, but since 1975, they have never been in power for more than 12 years consecutively.

There are exceptions, however. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Mongolia’s Mongolian People’s Party (MPRP), Taiwan’s Kuomintang party have enjoyed long tenures in power despite competing in multi-party systems.

Oldest and Longest

The graph below plots the world’s oldest political parties against the maximum number of years they were in power consecutively at any point of time. For a party to be considered for analysis, it should have ruled for at least one year between 1975 and 2017. The party’s age is calculated from the year it began to use its current name till 2017. If there were no significant changes in the party leadership, then the name change was ignored.

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As can be seen from the above chart, several parties were able to rule for a longer period as competition was low or non-existent.

 

Right, Left and centre

The graph below plots the political leanings of 497 parties that have ruled since 1975. Communist Vietnam, Cuba and China have had a single party ruling them. The number of Right-leaning parties in power increased in the mid-90s only to fall again, but the gap between the number of Left and Right-leaning ruling parties has narrowed down lately.

 

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 6:06:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/longest-and-oldest-ruling-political-parties-in-the-world/article27148203.ece

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