Meaning Of Two Party System
Two party system is said to exist where there are two major political parties each having equal chance of forming the government of the day. The existence of two party system does not suggest the complete absence of minor political parties. Such parties may exist but the possibility of any of them controlling the government through elections is almost zero, e.g. Britain, U.S.A. Note that Nigeria had two party system (NRC and SDP) during the aborted third Republic.
Merits Of Two Party System
1. It is easy for the electorate to make choice between two alternatives.
2. The two party system makes for a much more sober, systematic and constructive criticism of government activities by the opposition party.
3. It makes for stability since government by compromise through coalition will be avoided.
4. The two party system avoids the dictatorship of one party.
5. The system is not as expensive as that of multi-party system.
Demerits Of Two Party System
1. The system may not be suitable for a heterogeneous society with many tribes that have a great deal of religious and other cultural differences.
2. It may be easy for the party in power to suppress a single opposition party. This may create political instability, which may attract military intervention.
3. It may easily lead to discrimination by the party in power against certain sections of the country. National resources will thereby be equitably distributed by the government of the day.