The Soviet government argued that multiple parties represented the class struggle, which was absent in Soviet society, and so the Soviet Union only had one party: the Communist Party.
Some one-party states only outlaw opposition parties, while allowing allied parties to exist as part of a permanent coalition such as a popular front.
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One-party systems often arise from decolonization because one party has had an overwhelmingly dominant role in liberation or in independence struggles.
One-party states are often, but not always, considered to be authoritarian or totalitarian.
For example, in reference to the Soviet Union, the Party meant the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; in reference to the pre-1991 Republic of Zambia it referred to the United National Independence Party.
Most one-party states have been ruled either by parties following the ideology of Marxism–Leninism and international solidarity (such as the Soviet Union for most of its existence), or by parties following some type of nationalist or fascist ideology (such as Italy under Benito Mussolini), or by parties that came to power in the wake of independence from colonial rule.
Candidates are elected on an individual referendum basis without formal party involvement, though elected assemblies predominantly consist of members of the dominant party alongside non-affiliated candidates.
The True Whig Party of Liberia is considered the founder of the first one-party state in the world, as despite opposition parties never being outlawed, it completely dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980.
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The term "communist state" is often used in the West to apply to states in which the ruling party subscribes to a form of Marxism–Leninism.