Two Party system may be defined as the existence of only two major political parties in a political system. These two parties are constitutionally recognised to contest elections.
Britain is a good example of a two party state. There are two major political parties – the Labour Party and ConservativeParty. Liberal Party is a minor party.
United States, Canada, Australia, etc, also practise two party system.
Features of Two Party System / 2 Party State
The two party system has the following characteristics:
The two party system consists of two major parties which are well entrenched at the national level and a few minor ones which may also be represented in parliament.
With or without the support of the minority parties, one of the two major parties in a cabinet system of government is able to form a stable government, which may last until the next general election.
Of the two major parties in a parliamentary system of government, the party in power, which is usually called the “majority party” forms the government and assumes responsibility for conducting public affairs. The other one called the “minority party” or the “opposition party” assumes the function of careful examination and criticism of governmentpolicies.
There is the absence of mass parties as the parties tend to have elitist orientation.
The parties are decentralized and rely primarily on individual reputation.
There is little emphasis on party ideology and, indeed, there is little to choose between the leading parties.
The two major parties in two party systems compete for the approval of the majority of the electorate.
Each party seeks to avoid dissension within its own ranks and therefore makes adjustments and compromises to secure a united front.
Generally, the major parties agree in one way or another on many important political issues.
The two party system may operate in both cabinet and presidential systems of government.
Another name for the two party system is is biparty system.