Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
There is no consensus on what constitutes one-party dominance, but two features stand out. First, a party becomes dominant when, over time, it is much more successful in elections, in parliament, and in the government than any other party. How such success is measured and for how long the party needs to be successful in order to qualify as a dominant party is debated. The threshold for time ranges from two elections won in a row to never losing a single election. The threshold for electoral success ranges from a plurality of votes to a supermajority of seats. Second, it matters how dominance is established. Does the ruling party enjoy genuine support in the population, or does it maintain its hold on power through nondemocratic means? In other words, we need to distinguish between dominant parties and dominant authoritarian parties. In the classic definition of the Italian political scientist Clearly, ...