Wikipedia says that:

The constitution of Somaliland only allows for the top three political parties to contest elections, to avoid the previous proliferation of clan-based parties in the 1960s.

Besides Somaliland, do some [other] countries (besides the trivial single-party ones) officially limit the number of parties that can contest elections to a fixed number (> 1)? (I'm not asking about vote-share thresholds to enter parliament, that's a far more common method.)

  • 3
    A couple of thoughts. There are a great many countries in which parties don't (formally) contest the election at all. In the UK are just lots of local elections and voters vote for a candidate, not a party. There are also countries like China with a few licenced parties that are formally independent of the CCP, but in fact support it in all significant policies. I don't think the UK nor China would fit the spirit of your question.
    – James K
    Commented Mar 23 at 17:38
  • Afaik civilized countries solve this by that the Prime Minister needs approval of >=50% of the Parlament. You can get 20 parties in the Parlament if you wish to, but you can be PM only if you give enough back to at least 9 of them to vote you (normally they want to be part of the government for that, that is called coalition government).
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:02
  • It worth mentioning that basically no other country recognized the sovereignty of Somaliland, so it basically isn't a country and is instead a secessionist minded province of Somalia.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 26 at 3:30
  • North Korea has more than one officially recognized political parties but only a few and in name only.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 26 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of any current examples, but Djibouti operated under a four-party limit from the adoption of the new constitution in 1992 until 2002, when President Guelleh introduced a full multiparty political system. The first new political party was founded in October of that year, the Djibouti Union for Democracy and Justice.

The four-party limit provision was approved in a referendum held at the same time as the 1992 constitution was approved, with 97.9% of valid votes answering 'Yes' to the question "Do you approve the limitation of party politics to four parties?".

  • 1
    Either your knowledge is truly encyclopedic, or your google-fu is much better than mine!
    – James K
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:21
  • @JamesK: anyhow, interesting that this is a regional thing. (Djibouti borders Somaliland.) Commented Mar 25 at 17:51

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