What are Political Parties? 

In this video we look at the role and functions of political parties in a multiparty system of democratic government. This video is part of the Civics Academy Election Series for Zimbabwe.

Political parties are organised groups of people who share similar ideas and values about how a country should be governed.

A political party can be described as  an organised group of people who share similar ideas and values about how a country should be governed. 

They provide vehicles for citizens to come together to campaign for public office, and to express their interests, needs and aspirations for their society. 

Political parties are found in all representative democracies. Although some countries that are not democracies do have political parties, there are no democracies without political parties. 

The purpose of most political parties is to win an election, hold political power and form a government until the next election. However, small parties that are unlikely to win an election tend to use elections to gain seats in Parliament to influence public policy. 

The party that wins an election, with an outright majority, is called the ‘governing’ party because that party will govern the country until the next election. 

Political parties that lose an election are called ‘opposition’ parties because they will stand against the government in parliament and will use their time in opposition to build public support to contest and try to win the next election or at least more seats.

Political parties that win enough votes in an election win seats in parliament. These political parties can work together to introduce new laws and amend old laws. The political party with the most seats in a parliament, can more easily control what happens in parliament.

We explain the electoral system in detail in our video “How does the Electoral System work in Zimbabwe?” 

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