Bhutan has a unique political system, in which elections to the National Assembly ( the lower house of the bicameral Bhutanese parliament ) happen in two rounds. In the first round, a nationwide vote is conducted in which only parties are listed. The top two parties in the first round then advance to the second round, in which they field candidates to constituencies, who are then elected through a first-past-the-post system. This means that the national assembly only has two parties - the government and the opposition, even when other parties do exist.

My question is what would happen if such a system is implemented in a federal state ( Bhutan is a unitary state ), and more specifically, what would be the impacts on the dynamics of the political parties?

  • The US is a federal state with just two parties currently represented in the legislature. Sep 25 at 15:20
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    @SteveMelnikoff I am aware However, the USA differs in two points: 1. It is de-facto a two party system, not de jure, due to a combination of the effects of a presidential system and first-past-the-post 2. In the USA, while third parties exist, they have no influence and little chance to win elections; in Bhutan, third parties exist and are influential, and have a chance in the election, they are just not part of the parliament; in fact, in the last election, the Bhutanese government party came third in the first round and thus got removed from the national assembly
    Sep 25 at 15:25
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    I'm tempted to say that this is probably unanswerable. Bhutan is so unlike Germany, the USA, Switzerland, or other federal states that I don't think you could predict the effects.
    – James K
    Sep 25 at 15:57
  • @JamesK you have a point, but is this question unanswerable if it is a purely hypothetical choice?
    Sep 25 at 15:59
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    It is (or may be) unanswerable because it is a purely hypothetical choice.
    – James K
    Sep 25 at 16:04

This is not exactly answerable as asked for lack of precedents, but the effects could be quite varied depending on the existing circumstances.

On one hand, almost nothing noticeable might happen other than the cementing of a two-party structure in a country that already has a de facto such structure, e.g. the USA.

On the other hand, if the minority parties thus excluded have anything like regional armies like in Tigray (Ethiopia), civil war may erupt.

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