Merits and Demerits of a Multiple Party System are as follows:
Where there are more than two political parties, there is a multiple party system, as in India, France, Italy and West Germany.
Advantages of Merits of Multiple Party Systems:
(1) The nation is not divided into two camps:
Where there is multiple party systems, there are many types of ideologies and there is no rigid discipline among the parties. If a member leaves one party or if he is turned out of the party, he can join another party which has views almost similar to his own views. In this way, because of the freedom of the views, the nation is not divided into two rival groups.
(2) Parliament does not become a puppet in the hands of the cabinet:
In a multiple party system, one party Government is not formed but several parties’ form a coalition Government, and it has to depend upon the goodwill of the Parliament. Therefore, the cabinet cannot get the work done at will, by the Parliament by establishing its dictatorship.
(3) All shares of opinion are reflected in the House:
In a multiple party system, there is freedom of views. Because of this freedom, all shades of opinion get representation in the Parliament and views of all the classes are heard in the House.
(4) Wider choice before the electorate:
Where there are many parties, there is a wider choice before the electorate because they cast their votes in favour of only the like-minded parties.
(5) In it the chances of Cabinet dictatorship are minimized:
In a multiple party system, Coalition Governments are formed. Since one-party Government is nor formed, the parties in the coalition work by adopting the policy of compromise.
(6) The workers is more free in this system:
If his own party does not care for him, he can join a like-minded party.
Demerits of Multiple Party Systems:
Following are the demerits of the multiple party systems:
(1) Weak Government:
The Coalition Governments are basically weak and they are dissolved soon.
(2) Indefiniteness of Policy:
Because of the rapid change of the Governments, there is indefiniteness of the policy.
(3) No long-term planning:
Due to rapid changes in the Governments, long- term planning is not possible.
(4) Weak position of the Prime Minister:
In this system, the position of the Prime Minister is weak, because the Government is formed not by one party but many parties form the Coalition Government. Therefore, all the parties in the Government are to be appeased.
Since the policies and programmes of these parties are different, the Prime Minister has to face a great difficulty in satisfying them and keep them with him. If some party refuses to support the Prime Minister the fall of the Government becomes inevitable and the parties who enjoy a majority in the legislature, try to form the Cabinet.
(5) Lack of administrative efficiency:
In a multiple party system there is lack of administrative efficiency, because the Governments change very often.
(6) In this system trading in votes and formation of Government undermines the political morality.