Largest Political Parties in the World
The Top 10 Largest Political Parties in the World rank according to primary membership counts and can offer insight into both core policies as well as regional sentiment analysis on various issues.
Green parties typically prioritize disarmament and nonviolent conflict resolution over total pacifism; this stance can prove troublesome in countries like Germany where greens serve as junior coalition members with SPD’s center-left agenda.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is an Indian political party which espouses Hindu nationalism. Its ideological foundation lies with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), established as an ideological movement against Mohandas Gandhi in 1925.
The BJP first gained national prominence during the 1980s when they led widespread demonstrations to build a temple instead of a mosque in Ayodhya, prompting religious riots and creating an irreparable rupture between Hindus and Muslims which has yet to heal itself.
In the 1990s, LK Advani took charge as leader of the BJP and championed cultural nationalism to appeal to middle-class voters. Additionally, the party advocated for a uniform civil code and supported India’s nuclear program; during its time in government, it implemented various economic policies including demonetization of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes in 2016 as part of efforts against black money.
Communist Party of China (CPC)
CCP boasts over 98 million members in China; although government institutions and party institutions technically remain separate, the ultimate power lies with the party.
Since his 2012 election as general secretary, Xi Jinping has strengthened party control and restored its central place in society. He will likely receive another five-year term when the party convenes again in 2022.
Even as the CCP attempts to avoid the fateful fate that befell the Soviet Union, experts caution that too much power in one leader could threaten its survival. CFR Senior Fellow Elizabeth Economy believes Xi has used consolidation of authority to shut down policy debate, causing economic stagnation as well as risking an ossified party state with dogmatic ideology, entrenched elites, and dormant party organizations.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)
PTI made use of religious rhetoric and anti-US sentiment to discredit established parties and position itself as the voice of the people in Pakistan, exploiting privatized media landscape to demonize the establishment and craft its narrative (Hasan, 2017). They have been known to target judiciary officials with vicious character assassination campaigns (Hasan 2017).
The Republican Party of the United States of America (RPO)
PTI was formed in 1996 by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan as an alternative to Pakistan’s main ruling parties (PML-N and MMA). Their campaign for “Naya Pakistan”, coupled with Khan’s charitable endeavors – such as building his hospital for cancer patients – helped strengthen PTI ahead of the 2013 general elections.
Established in 1792, the modern Republican Party began as an effort to support decentralized government and states’ rights. Following Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s expansive social programs resulting in a Democratic landslide during the 1930s, however, Republicans shifted rightward toward business interests and traditionalist values.
Today, 87% of Republicans and those leaning Republican view the Democratic Party unfavorably – an impressive near-record-high figure.
During the 1960s, a conservative resurgence led to the nominations of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon by their respective parties, combined with increasing dissatisfaction with Lyndon B. Johnson’s civil rights policies, which led to the weakening of the Democratic “Solid South.” Republicans eventually established themselves as the dominant political party until 2016, when businessman Donald Trump disproved expectations by defeating establishment candidates like Jeb Bush – this allowed them to gain back power both at home and in Congress.
Green Party of the United States of America (GPUSA)
Before recently, the Green Party in the US was largely unknown and its core membership believed that grassroots organizing and non-electoral activism were the best ways to influence politics.
The Green Party stands for environmental sustainability, nonviolence, and social justice. They aim to bring together an expansive coalition of environmentalists, social justice activists, and grassroots organizers under their banner.
The Green Party represents the values of individuals such as Jim Hightower, a Texas populist; Delores Huerta, a California Latina organizer; and Ralph Nader, a widely-renowned consumer advocate. Additionally, the Greens believe that our current winner-take-all electoral system is flawed and they strive to reform it; their goal is to build new politics based on democracy and the common good.
Social Democratic Party of the United States of America (SDP)
Political parties are not required to disclose their membership numbers; however, many do so to demonstrate their size and reach. This briefing presents estimates from party head offices, media reports, and academic studies of how many are currently registered members of political parties worldwide.
In 1981, the Social Democratic Party was established by Roy Jenkins, David Owen, and Shirley Williams in response to the tendency for governments to swing rightwards when changing. Unfortunately, though, most members subsequently agreed to merge with the Liberal Party in 1988.
Understanding how powerful these parties are can provide us with a deeper insight into global politics. Their global rankings can offer valuable information about policies, regional sentiments, and more; in addition, these rankings allow us to compare and contrast various parties.
Democratic Party of the United States of America (DPUSA)
The Democratic Party of the United States of America is one of the oldest and largest political parties worldwide, known for supporting labor unions, civil rights, and progressive reforms.
The party first emerged within the Federalist Party, founded during the early American Republic by followers of Thomas Jefferson. They advocated a strong central government with limited powers.
Over its more than two centuries of existence, the Republican Party has experienced numerous ups and downs. From supporting slavery in the 19th century to opposing civil rights reforms after the Civil War to gain voter support in Southern states. By the 1950s and ’60s, its pursuit of civil rights legislation caused internal strife within its ranks with Southern senators often staging lengthy filibusters to block its passage.
Democratic Socialist Party of the United States of America (DSPU)
Political parties are fundamental institutions for democracy, providing citizens with choices and holding governments to account. When citizens join, volunteer, donate money or vote for one they exercise their basic democratic rights – something NDI supports by helping create vibrant multiparty systems with inclusive memberships and systems of governance that reflect diversity.
DSA’s growth can be attributed to two sources. One factor is Sanders’ popularity; another factor is millennials being open to socialist ideas – one poll revealed that 33% of 18-29-year-olds support socialism while only 42% back capitalism.
DSA currently focuses on three campaigns: Medicare for All, strengthening unions, and electing Democratic Socialists. However, its members don’t follow any strict orthodoxy when it comes to health care – particularly about worker ownership of businesses that still allow private providers to provide care.
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is the world’s largest political party by formal membership numbers; however, it has seen its membership dwindle significantly and now finds itself in crisis.
Core voters lost faith in its promises of leading them away from economic exploitation toward global civil society and knowledge economies free from manual and alienated labor. Furthermore, it misread postwar public sentiment by preaching class struggle rhetoric like planning and government takeovers of industry.
The SPD was also unable to adjust to the seismic shifts in politics and economy that began during the 1990s, misreading public sentiment by prioritizing policies of detente over power politics or bloc confrontation; this ultimately lead to its demise and the rise of CDU.
Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPD)
Austrian social democracy enjoys five times greater social roots per capita than Germany’s SPD, as demonstrated by its enormous membership base and party apparatus that includes state-affiliated companies, front organizations, think tanks, foundations, and cultural institutions.
Party membership was once seen as an effective means to build one’s career; it could land you a management position at one of the state-affiliated companies, at a think tank, or even within government ministries.
Now, with Pamela Rendi-Wagner leading and facing competition from right-wing populist Freedom Parties in many states, the SPO has lost momentum and it needs a “Jeremy Corbyn moment” to regain its footing among new generations of workers who value environmental and social issues.