List of liberal parties
Articles related to
the Liberalism series.
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This is an overview of parties that adhere more or less (explicitly) to the ideas of political liberalism and is therefore a list of liberal parties around the world.
One can argue what a liberal party is. In this list a liberal party is defined as a political party, that adheres to the basic principles of (political) liberalism. This is a broad political current, that includes both more right of center or free market liberals and more left of center liberals. All liberal parties emphasize individual liberty, but they differ in their opinion on an active role for the state. Liberal parties believe in the growth of a free society based on personal liberty, personal responsibility and social justice. When liberals have gained power and realized their first reforms, one often sees a divergence within the ranks of liberals:
- Some are satisfied and rest apart with these reforms, developing into liberal conservatives or simply becoming conservatives, mostly still adhering to free market policies. An example is the Liberal Democratic Party (Japan). These parties are not included in the list below.
- The mainstream of liberalism continues on the path of gradual reforms, embraces electoral democracy as a basic liberal position and organizes itself in the form of the traditional liberal parties. These parties are included in the list .
- Part of this mainstream emphasizes classical liberal issues and concentrates on economic liberalism. This is, for example, the origin of libertarianism. By many people this is considered a separate political theory/current. Others argue that these parties are also liberal parties. Therefore they are included.
- Another current wants more and radical reforms. It embraces and emphasizes democratic reforms and often strives after social reforms. These parties sometimes prefer to name themselves radical or progressive liberal and are generally quite positive about the role of the state while continuing to support a market economy. United States liberalism developed out of this tradition. Progressive liberals tend to use words as Radical, Progressive, Free-minded or simply Democratic in stead of Liberal. These left wing liberal parties are included in the list.
- Note 1: It is said that United States liberalism differs from the liberalism in most other countries. It includes progressive liberals mentioned here, but also people that would be considered social democrats in other countries.
- For some this doesnt go far enough: they joined socialist or social democratic parties.
- Next to these development one sees the rise of new centrist or pragmatic parties that share liberal values and develop into liberal or similar parties. These parties are included in the list too.
- Finally one sees liberals joining parties with a broader political range. This happens especially in countries where the electoral system favors a two-party system. (See below for a list of parties.)
- Note 2: In some cases the liberal current has developed into a populist direction, like in the case of the Freedom Party (Austria), in other cases populist parties have adopted the word "liberal" in their names, like in the cases of the Liberal Democratic Party (Russia) and the Liberal Democratic Party (Lithuania). These parties have only a tenuous connection to any tradition that would usually be called "liberal".
Many liberal or similar parties are member of the Liberal International and/or of its regional partners, like the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. Mainly due to national contexts or power reasons some of these parties joined either the Socialist International or the conservative International Democratic Union and its regional partners. Generally the membership of the liberal organizations is an indication that a party is a liberal party and all members are listed. This includes also some centre parties of which the liberal character is disputed by some. Membership of the Socialist International or the International Democratic Union is a contra-indication. These contra-indications doesn't exclude a listing.
International organizations of parties
Parliamentary parties and other parties with substantial support
- This list includes also parties which were represented in the last previous legislature and still exists as well as some banned or exiles parties (Burma, Cuba). Liberals might be active in other parties, but that is no reason to include a party.
- A more extensive overview by country and defunct parties can be found at Liberalism worldwide
- See the remarks above about the criteria. Minor parties are listed below
Liberalism is weak in Albania. Two parties could be considered to embrace liberal values: the Democratic Alliance Party (Partia Aleanca Demokratike, member LI, ELDR) and the Unity for Human Rights Party (Partia Bashkimi për të Drejtat e Njeriut), which is the party of the ethnic minorities.
The traditional progressive liberal party is the Radical Civic Union (Unión Civica Radical, a party that joined the SI). Nowadays it more or less adheres to a synthesis of liberal and social democratic ideas. The party Recreate for Growth (Recrear para el Crecimiento) seems to be an attempt to form a market liberal party. Some provincial conservative parties use the label liberal. The Union of Democratic Center of Avellaneda (Unión del Centro Democrático de Avellaneda) considers itself to be a liberal party, others see it as a conservative party.
The character of the Aruban Liberal Organization (Organisacion Liberal Arubiano) is not clear.
The main conservative party is named Liberal Party of Australia. Some would argue that this party is a liberal party and it includes liberals. Other would stress conservatism as its ideology. The Australian Democrats is a left of center liberal party, of which the more center oriented Australian Progressive Alliance separated itself.
Liberalism almost disappeared in Austria, when the Liberal Forum (Liberales Forum, member LI, ELDR) became a micro-party. Sometimes the name of the main right-wing populist party, the Freedom Party of Austria is wrongly translated as Liberal party of Austria.
The dominant party is the left of center liberal Progressive Liberal Party.
Liberalism is under threat in Belarus. One of the main opposition parties is the liberal United Civic Party of Belarus (Abjadnanaja Hramadzianskaja Partyja Biełarusi).
In Flanders the liberal Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten, member LI, ELDR), comprising both market and left of center liberals, is one of the dominant parties. Smaller liberal parties are Spirit, allied with the social democrats, and Vivant, allied to the VLD. In the French speaking part of the country the nowadays center liberal Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur, member LI, ELDR) is one of the mayor parties. Affiliated with this party is the German speaking Party for Freedom and Progress (Partei für Freiheit und Fortschritt).
The Rebirth Party of Benin (Parti de la renaissance du Bénin), might be considered a liberal party, but it exact profile is not available.
Liberalism is weak in this country, dominated by ethnic parties. A small and rather unsuccessful liberal party is the Liberal Democratic Party (Liberalno demokratska stranka, member ELDR). The Party for Bosnia and Hercegovina (Stranka za Bosnu i Hercegovinu) can be considered a more or less liberal party.
Three parties name themselves liberal, but the Party of the Liberal Front (Partido da Frente Liberal) is a conservative party, member of the IDU. The Liberal party (Partido Liberal) was founded as a neoliberal party trying to apply the Austrian School, which corresponds to the common use of the word in Brazil, and the Social Liberal Party (Partido Social Liberal) can be considered a liberal party in the US sense. The populist, centrist Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro) takes a US-sense liberal position in the spectrum.
Organized liberalism was initially quite unsuccessful in Bulgaria. Liberalism is now represented by the mainly Turkish minority party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (Dvienie za prava i svobodi, observer LI, member ELDR) and the National Movement for Simeon II (Nacionalno Dvienie Simeon Vtori, member LI, ELDR), both taking a more or less liberal position.
The Alliance for Democracy and Federation (Alliance pour la Démocratie et la Fédération), might be considered a liberal party, but it exact profile is not available.
The Movement for Democracy (Movimento para a Democracia), might be considered a liberal party, but its exact profile is not available.
The liberal current developed into the Colombian Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Colombiano, despite its name an active member of the SI), which is a left of center, somewhat populist party, somewhere between liberalism and social democracy.
Croatian liberalism is very divided. One could distinguish four parties: the right of center Croatian Social Liberal Party (Hrvatska socijalno liberalna stranka, member LI), ELDR) and the two center liberal parties Liberal Party (Liberalna stranka, member LI), ELDR and Party of Liberal Democrats (LIBRA – Stranka liberalnih demokrata, observer LI), member ELDR. Furthermore the Croatian People's Party (Hrvatska narodna stranka, member ELDR) is more or less a liberal party.
Non-communist parties are banned in Cuba. This make the three liberal parties Liberal Democratic Party (Partido Liberal Democratico, observer LI), Democratic Solidarity Party (Partido Solidaridad Democratica, observer LI) and the Cuban Liberal Movement (Movimiento Liberal Cubano) illegal. In exile the Cuban Liberal Union (Unión Liberal Cubana, member LI) is active.
The United Democrats (Enomeni Dimokrates, member ELDR) are a left of center liberal party. In North Cyprus the left of center Peace and Democracy Movement (Bariş ve Demokrasi Hareketi), might be considered a liberal party, but it exact profile is not available. See also Liberalism in Cyprus.
Liberalism is clearly unsuccessful in this country. Three parliamentary liberal parties work together, theCivic Democratic Alliance (Obcanska demokraticka aliance, member ELDR), the Freedom Union-Democratic Union (Unie Svobody – Demokratická unie) and the Liberal Reform Party (Liberální Reformní Strana). They were unsuccessful at the last European elections. At these elections the European Democrats (Evroptí demokraté) proved to be a liberal alternative, but it joined the EPP.
Danish liberalism is divided in two parties, the left of center social liberal Radical Left (Det Radikale Venstre, member LI, ELDR) and the right-wing market liberal Left, (Venstre Danmarks liberale parti, member LI, ELDR).
The originally left-wing Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberacíon Dominicana) developed into a center liberal party.
The Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond, member LI), ELDR is a free market liberal party. The liberal character of the centrist (centre-left) Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond, member LI), ELDR) can be disputed.
The dominant LI and ELDR member party is the original agrarian Finnish Center (Suomen Keskusta), however the liberal character of this party is disputed. The Swedish minority party Swedish People's Party (Svenska Folkpartiet i Finland, member LI, ELDR) has a more clear liberal profile. The original liberal current is now organized in the Liberals (Liberaalit), a very small extra-parliamentary party. At the autonomous island of Åland the Liberals for Åland (Liberalerna på Åland, observer LI) are a dominant force.
The original liberal current in France disappeared and market liberalism is now represented in the conservative Union for a Popular Movement. The originally left of center radical liberal party split up in the right of center liberal Radical Party (Parti Radical) and the left of center social liberal Left Radical Party (Parti Radical de Gauche).
United Democratic Party, might be considered a liberal party, but it exact profile is not available.
The National Movement – Democrats (Natshhionakhuri Modraoba – Demokrathebi) has to develop a clear profile, but there are signs it will develop into a liberal party.
The New Patriotic Party is a right of center liberal party that is unclear about its international affiliations.
The Feeling of Community Party (Atássut) is a right of center liberal party.
The National Democratic Congress is a center liberal party.
Liberalism got strongly divided after the shake up of Italian politics. Liberals are now divided over the center liberal Italy of Values-List Di Pietro (Italia dei Valori – Lista Di Pietro, member LI), ELDR, the left of center Daisy (La Margherita, a merger of liberal and Christian-democratic forces, so it includes both liberals and Christian democrats), the left of center European Republican Movement (Movimento Repubblicani Europei, member ELDR), the old – nowadays right of center – Italian Republican Party (Partito Repubblicano Italiano, member ELDR) and the alternative liberal Italian Radicals or Lista Bonino (Radicali Italiani, member ELDR).
The word liberal is used in Japan by the main conservative party, the Liberal Democratic Party (Jiyu Minshuto). The Democratic Party (Minshu-to) is a left of center liberal, social democratic party. The liberal character of the Liberal League (Jiyu Rengo) is disputed, it is also considered to be conservative party.
The Liberal Democratic Party could be considered a liberal party.
The National Liberal Party (Hizb al-Ahrar al-Watani) is a liberal pro-independence (from Syria) party.
The Liberal and Centre Union (Liberalų ir centro sąjunga, member LI), ELDR) is a center liberal party and the New Union Social Liberals (Naujoji Sąjunga (socialliberalai), observer LI), member ELDR) is a left of center liberal party.
The liberals are divided over the Liberal Democratic Party (Liberalna Demokraticka Partija, member LI), part of the left of center government coalition and the Liberal Party of Macedonia (Liberalna Partija na Makedonija, member ELDR), part of the right of center opposition coalition.
The liberal character of the United Democratic Front is despite its membership of the LI disputable. The Democratic Progressive Party was formed in 2005 by President Bingu wa Mutharika after a dispute with the UDF. There were allegations that members of the former governing UDF did not adequately tackle corruption. It is unclear if the party will be ideological or personalist in style.
Liberalism in Moldova is divided over the social liberal Party Alliance Our Moldova (Partidul Alianţa «Moldova Noastră»), a merger of liberal and social democrat forces and the market liberal Social Liberal Party (Partidul Social-Liberal).
The Liberal Democratic Party of Mozambique (Partido Liberal e Democrático de Moçambique) and the Social Liberal and Democratic Party (Partido Social-Liberal e Democrático) claim to be liberal parties.
Liberalism is divided over two parties in the Netherlands, the left of center liberal Democrats 66 (Democraten 66, member LI, ELDR) and the right of center market liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, member LI, ELDR). Furthermore, in 2004, the Green Left started profiling itself as a 'leftist liberal' party, thus possibly breaking with its socialist roots.
Liberalism in New Zealand is not organized anymore. The left of center New Zealand Democratic Party takes a more or less progressive liberal position in the spectrum. ACT New Zealand is a classical liberal or libertarian party.
National Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Nacional), observer LI is a right of center liberal party, as is the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Partido Movimiento Liberal Republicano Nacionalista).
The Popular Democratic Party (Partido Popular Democrático) is a left of center liberal party.
The Apple Russian Democratic Party (Jabloko – Rossijskaja Demokratičeskaja Partija, member LI) is a left of center liberal party, the Union of Right Forces (Sojuz Pravych Sil, member IDU) is a right of center liberal party. This last party can also be seen as a democratic conservative market party.
Popular Alliance of Sammarinese Democrats for the Republic (Alleanza Popolare dei Democratici Sammarinesi per la Repubblica) is a center liberal party.
Liberalism is divided in Serbia. The small centrist Civic Alliance of Serbia (Graðanski Savez Srbije) has a clear liberal profile. The right of center Democratic Party (Demokratska Stranka) officially aligned itself with the European social democrats and the G17 Plus is somewhere between liberalism and conservatism. The liberal character of the Liberals of Serbia (Liberali Srbije, observer LI, member ELDR) is disputed due to their campaign for the last elections, in which it lost parliamentary representation. The Liberal Alliance of Montenegro (Liberalni Savez Crne Gore), member LI) is more or less a liberal party.
The Democratic Alternative '91 (Democratisch Alternatief '91) is a center liberal party.
The People's Party – Liberals (Folkpartiet Liberalerna, member LI), ELDR) is a center liberal party. The Center Party (Centerpartiet, member ELDR) is an agrarian party that gradually might develop into a more or less liberal party. The liberal character is however disputed.
Both the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz//Parti Radical-Démocratique Suisse, member LI), ELDR and the Liberal Party of Switzerland (Liberale Partei der Schweiz//Parti Libéral Suisse, member LI) are right of center liberal parties.
The Democratic Progressive Party (Min-chu Chin-pu Tang, member LI, CALD) is a left of center liberal party. The Taiwan Solidarity Union is a progressive centrist party characterised primarily by its Taiwanese nationalism and derives is membership from both the Chinese Nationalist Party's former moderate and Taiwan-oriented fringe and DPP supporters disgruntled by the party's moderation on the question of Taiwanese sovereignty. Its liberal character is questionable, although it its part of the DPP's left-of-centre and Taiwan-oriented Pan-Green alliance (in contrast with the far-right and China-oriented Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and People First Party.
The position of liberalism is unclear. The Liberal Party (Liberalna Partia, observer LI) is a small liberal party and the Electoral Blok Juli Tymoshenko (Viborcyj Blok Julii Tymoenko) seems to develop into a more or less liberal party.
British liberalism is now organized mainly in the left/right (depending on the issue) of center liberal Liberal Democrats (member LI, ELDR). The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (member LI, ELDR) is their counterpart in Northern Ireland.
There is a small splinter group of the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Party, which consists of those Liberals who objected to the merger of the old Liberal Party to the centrist Social Democrats in 1988, which is sporadically active in local government.
The Democratic Party is identified as the liberal party within the broader definition of liberalism. The Libertarian Party, possibly the third largest political party in the United States, particularly centers itself on free markets and individual liberty.
- See Libertarianism vs. classical liberalism for a discussion on the relation between libertarianism and liberalism.
Liberalism in Uruguay organized itself in the nineteenth century in the Colorado (or Red) Party, (Partido Colorado) nowadays an heterogonous party, divided in factions ranging from conservatism to social democracy. Its general profile is more or less liberal.
Liberalism is not organized in Zimbabwe, but the left-leaning opposition Movement for Democratic Change includes liberals and social democrats opposed to the heavy-handed Maoism and social conservatism of dictator Robert Mugabe.
- Afghanistan: Liberal Democratic Party of Afghanistan
- Armenia: Armenian Liberal Democratic Party (Ramgavar)
- Armenia: Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar Azadagan)
- Armenia: Liberal Democratic Union of Armenia
- Australia: Liberal Democratic Party of Australia
- Austria: Liberal Forum (Liberales Forum, member LI, ELDR, formerly parliamentary)
- Austria: The Democrats (Die Demokraten)
- Bangladesh: Liberal Party of Bangladesh
- Canada: Libertarian Party of Canada
- Chile: Liberal Party (Chile) (Partido Liberal)
- Czech Republic: Path for Change (Cesta Zmĕny, member ELDR)
- Czech Republic: Party for an open society (Strana pro otevrenou spolecnost)
- Dominican Republic: Liberal Party of the Dominican Republic (Partido Liberal de la República Dominicana)
- Ecuador: Movement Forwards Ecuador (Moviminiento Fuerza Ecuador, observer LI)
- France: Pole of freedoms, the French liberal movement (Pôle des Libertés – Le Mouvement Libéral Français)
- Greece: The Liberals (Oi Fileleytheroi)
- Haiti Liberal Party (Parti Libéral)
- India: Swatantra Bharat Party
- Italy: Federation of Liberals (Federazione dei Liberali Italiani, observer LI)
- Italy: Liberal Party (Partito Liberale)
- Laos: Lao Liberal Democratic Party (SeripasathipataiLao)
- Mongolia: Mongolian Liberal Democratic Party
- Netherlands Antilles: Democratic Party (Democratische Partij)
- Norway: Liberal People's Party (Det Liberale Folkepartiet)
- Peru: Liberal Party of Peru (Partido Liberal del Peru)
- Portugal: Liberal Social Movement (Movimento Liberal Social)
- Serbia and Montenegro: Liberal Party of Kosovo (Partia Liberale e Kosoves, observer LI, member ELDR)
- Spain: Liberal Coalition (Coalición Liberal)
- Spain: Mallorcan Union (Unió Mallorquina, member LI)
- Sri Lanka: Liberal Party of Sri Lanka, member LI, CALD
- Turkey: Liberal Democratic Party (Liberal Demokrat Parti, member LI)
- United Kingdom: Liberal Party
- United States: Liberal Party (New York State)
- Uruguay: Liberal Party (Partido Liberal)
- Venezuela: Liberal Force (Fuerza Liberal)
- Venezuela: Civil Resistance (Resistencia Civil): micro-party
- Liberal Manifesto of Oxford 1947
- Liberal Declaration of Oxford 1967
- Liberal Manifesto of Oxford 1997