15

The political party Sinn Féin is active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Of course, the desire of Sinn Féin is for a United Ireland, in which Northern Ireland becomes part of the Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, it appears unusual that a single political party is active in more than one country.

Are there any other notable examples of political parties that participate in elections (at any level) in multiple countries?

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    Is what you want any co-ordination between the different countries' parties or are you concerned with having the exact same name or a single hierarchy? Communism, ethnicity, and religion seem the way to go either way. – user9389 Feb 15 '18 at 21:14
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    @notstoreboughtdirt I mean a single party organisation spanning multiple countries, with a single name, a single hierarchy, a single membership base, a single party leader. Such as is the case with Sinn Féin. – gerrit Feb 15 '18 at 21:23
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    Of course, from the point of view of Sinn Fein, they are only active in one country, Ireland. – James K Feb 15 '18 at 21:26
  • The Lyndon Larouche movement may qualify. They have political parties in at least USA, France, Germany. All political branches are linked to the Schiller Institute. They have work relationships with the Russian, Chinese and Syrian government but I don't think they have any political parties there. – xrorox Feb 16 '18 at 8:41
  • @JamesK Are you sure? The way I understand it (as an outsider) is that they acknowledge that the countries are separate, but want them to be the same. So they acknowledge that they're in two countries, but work to unify them. – Nic Hartley Feb 16 '18 at 18:56
16

There is a little difficulty working out what exactly is a political party, in a transnational context. The expectation is that a leader of a political party will become national leader, if they win an election. If the leader is from a different country it is likely to be a constitutional issue. For this reason, major parties are unlikely to be transnational.

Parties of the Right tend to be nationalist. I couldn't find any Right wing transnational political groups.

However there is the "Pirate Party". By its nature, the pirate party is not highly organised. There are pirate parties in various countries, they have aligned policies and membership of transnational groups such as "Pirate Parties International"(PPI). By some standards, the various national pirate parties are actually sub-groups of a single transnational party. However PPI this could be seen as an association of parties

Similarly various Socialist groups see themselves as local implementations of international communism. There is the "Party of the European Left" that represents a wide range of socialist and communist parties. They have aligned policies so by some standards the "Party of the European Left" really is a single party, and not an association of national parties.

It is a very reasonable to say that these are not actually political parties. However for comparison, consider the Conservative Party before the 1980s in the UK. There was no list of Members of the Conservative Party. There were local Conservative and Unionist Associations, and there was the Parlimentary Party (which selected the Leader by consensus rather than by vote) If we can accept the Tory party of the 1970s as a National political party, perhaps we can accept the Pirates or the European Left as transnational parties.

  • Regarding the PPI: No, they are not really a transnational party. All national pirate parties were formed independently from each other and then decided to join a common umbrella organization. That umbrella organization has no authority whatsoever over the national pirate parties. – Philipp Feb 15 '18 at 22:07
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    Yet they have aligned policies. They chose the same name. They see themselves as a transnational movement. It is in the nature of Pirate Parties for the central organisation to have little authority. The answer to this question hinges on the definition of "political party" I've noted this in the answer. – James K Feb 15 '18 at 22:11
  • I've added some context: The old Tory party was rather like the Pirates, in that it was an association of local parties. I forget the details, but there was a case where the question of was person X a member of the Tories in the 70s. It became clear that the question couldn't be answered as no national membership existed. – James K Feb 15 '18 at 22:35
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    "Parties of the Right tend to be nationalist." Which country's or region's "right"? – jpmc26 Feb 16 '18 at 1:58
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    "I couldn't find any Right wing transnational political groups." Nazis are everywhere! – Chloe Feb 16 '18 at 2:05
13

Ba'ath Party was the "Arab Socialst Movement" party and it was active in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

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    Also in the Middle East: the Muslim Brotherhood? Definitely a political party in Egypt, apparently has been involved in politics in at the very least Jordan; but I'm just going by Wikipedia. – Peter Taylor Feb 16 '18 at 9:23
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    @PeterTaylor - ...and I believe both those parties, like Sinn Féin, are Nationalist parties for a greater nation which spans multiple existing countries. – T.E.D. Feb 16 '18 at 18:52
  • The political involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood is relatively new, and not supported by all of its members/supporters. Source: BBC's documentary The Islamists: Islam, People and Power Boxset. – hlovdal Feb 17 '18 at 8:48
8

Off the top of my head there are at least two mostly transnational parties in the EU:

  • The European Greens, which are a federation of Green parties that includes most Green parties in the EU.
  • The Pirate Party, a federation of single issue parties already mentioned by James K.

A few more EP groups have transnational lines in practice if not on paper. Center-left in particular, aka socialists - as opposed to communists - in Europe.

In passing, there was a recent debate in the EU that revolved around whether to use transnational party lists rather than national ones for EP elections. Things didn't move forward, but you can tell based on who was for/against who is closer or further to being organized as a single party across the EU.

Besides that, look into parties related to ethnic groups that don't have a state and whose demographics span across multiple nations. For instance Kurds or Assyrians.

3

Some Catalan and Basque political parties are active in Spain and France. For example, Basque Nationalist Party or Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya.

2

Some other examples --

Fenians in the 19th century. International Communist Party in the early 20th century. National Socialist Party from Germany in the latter 20th century.

National Rifle Association - while not exactly a party with a wide scope of policy proposals or pursuing governance, they are a lobby group that directly influences elections in the USA and Canada.

Jacobins in the 18th century - a political party during the French Revolution that sponsored American Patriots and participated in actions during the American Revolution.

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    All of those are alliances of parties that exist in different countries, not the same single party that exists across different countries. – gerrit Feb 16 '18 at 2:19
  • @gerrit In several states (as in national bodies, not subnational divisions) the Green Party isn't even one party across the entire jurisdiction, but that's a part of a federal structure. – origimbo Feb 16 '18 at 13:10
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    Libertarian party isn't truly international imho, they merely share the name/ideas – user4012 Feb 16 '18 at 15:22
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If you consider the member nations of the United Kingdom to be distinct countries, then arguably all its major parties (ie, those who field enough candidates in enough constituencies) fit this bill.

While not strictly 'elected' in the same way as his immediate predecessor and successor were, Gordon Brown was a Scottish MP at the time of his run as Chancellor and as Prime Minister, as was the leader of the Liberal Democrats- Charles Kennedy- at the same time.

It may, however, be worth considering this a 'quirk' of the location, like with Sinn Féin, rather than a truly trans-national party, though.

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