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The ruling party or governing party in a democratic parliamentary system is the political party or coalition holding a majority of elected positions in a parliament, that administers the affairs of state.

In many democratic republic countries[which?], the ruling party is the party of the elected president that is in charge of the executive branch of government. Within such parliamentary systems, the majority in the legislature also controls the executive branch of government, thus leaving no possibility of opposing parties concurrently occupying the executive and legislative branches of government. In other systems, such as in an American style presidential system, the party of the president does not necessarily also have a legislative majority. Some[who?] propose a more apt term in democratic systems is "serving party", as officials are elected to serve constituents, not rule them.

A ruling party is also used to describe the party of one-party states, such as the Chinese Communist Party in the People's Republic of China. In his political manifesto The Green Book, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi attacked the ability of the ruling party, using it as a basis for his opposition to partisan politics.

See also