Meaning of Bipartisanship
It is known as bipartisanship to political structure in which two major parties the jostle power. This type of system excludes minority parties.
According to DigoPaul, with bipartisanship, one party accedes to the government by obtaining the majority of the votes, while another party becomes the official opposition by reaching second place in the voters’ preferences. The rest of the parties, on the other hand, are left without legislative representation or with a very limited representation.
The existence of bipartisanship means that the two main political coalitions receive all the attention of the media and dominate the political debate. As a consequence, other political expressions do not get space to spread their ideas and to communicate their proposals. By extension, at the time of elections, the smaller parties receive few votes and thus the two-party system is perpetuated.
In general, the bipartisanship opposes two antagonistic political positions, such as liberals against conservatives or left against right. However, it is now common for party ideologies to be less strict and for all coalitions to end up competing for the same voter.
In Spain, for example, there has been a clear bipartisan system until a few years ago in which the political landscape seems to have changed. Specifically, from the Transition until 2016, approximately, it can be said that bipartisanship has existed in the country since two parties are those that have alternated power:
-The Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), which has been at the forefront of the government of the country through two presidents of the government. One has been Felipe González (1982 – 1996) from Seville and the other was José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, from León, who was in power between 2004 and 2011.
-The Popular Party (PP) that has also led the country on two occasions. In the first place, with the Valladolid José María Aznar, between 1996 and 2004, and the Galician Mariano Rajoy, who has been president since 2011 and continues to act as such.
However, as we have mentioned, in 2016 bipartisanship ended in the country. And it is that new parties emerged on the scene that got the support of citizens at the polls. Specifically, it was about new political formations, some of which already began to be noticed in 2014. This would be the case of Podemos, whose leader is Pablo Iglesias, who is the third current force in the Congress of Deputies.
In the same way, we must also highlight Ciudadanos, whose leader is Albert Rivera, who is the fourth force in the hemicycle.
An example of bipartisanship is found in the United States. There the Republican Party and the Democratic Party succeed each other in power. In the presidential elections of 2012, to cite one case, the candidate of the Democratic Party (Barack Obama) won 51.07% of the votes, while the candidate of the Republican Party (Mitt Romney) reached 47.21%. On the other hand, none of the candidates from the minority parties reached 1%, ratifying the marked bipartisanship of the US political structure.