(from L. partita, partitus: party). Union among people who follow the same interest or share the same opinion. It is a form of political organization that struggles to attain decisive positions in the exercise of state power. The conditions under which political parties carry out their activities depend on the existing political regime in a given country. The party system is determined by the State’s electoral system. The modern party system was formed in Western European states and the Americas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and today encompasses practically all states in the world. In totalitarian states the single-party system is used as the principal instrument of social mobilization and repression. In some authoritarian states political parties are prohibited, while in others they have an ephemeral and precarious existence. The democratization of political and social life is accompanied by a broadening of the functions of political parties, the democratization of their internal organization and operation. However, the existence of a multi-party system alone cannot be considered as the decisive criterion of the degree of democratization of the political regime, although it is one of the necessary features. In democratic states, as a general rule political parties register no more than five percent of all citizens. The majority of voters are not militants of any party, and their political sympathies shift from one election to the next. The current crisis of democracy also affects the political parties and is accompanied by citizen apathy and abstention from voting in elections. In the information society, the functions of political parties are progressively reduced, yielding their place to clubs and other forms of organization, characterized by the absence of a permanent affiliation and rigid party discipline. The specific features of a political party are: political activities, doctrine, organizational principles and statutes, a style and methods of operation. All of this is reflected in the party program, platform and statutes. Parties have specific symbols, including anthems. As a rule, they have their own organs of diffusion.