or nonpartisan politician
is a politician not affiliated with any political party
. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.
Some politicians have political views that do not align with the platforms of any political party, and therefore choose not to affiliate with them. Some independent politicians may be associated with a party, perhaps as former members of it, or else have views that align with it, but choose not to stand in its name, or are unable to do so because the party in question has selected another candidate. Others may belong to or support a political party at the national level but believe they should not formally represent it (and thus be subject to its policies) at another level.
In running for public office, independents sometimes choose to form a party or alliance with other independents, and may formally register their party or alliance. Even where the word "independent" is used, such alliances have much in common with a political party, especially if there is an organization which needs to approve the "independent" candidates.
Independent politicians are not allowed to run for office in Brazil. The Constitution of 1988, in Article 14, §3rd, item V, says that "Are conditions for eligibility: V - party affiliation."
However, the Proposal Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) no. 6/2015, authored by independent senator José Reguffe
, would allow the independent candidacy of individuals who have the support of at least 1% of the electors able to vote in the region (city, state or country, depending on the election) in which the candidate is running.
Currently, members of the legislature can leave their respective parties after being elected, as in the case of senator Reguffe, who left the Democratic Labour Party
(PDT) in 2016.
Independent Members of Parliament were numerous in the last decades of the 19th century but diminished as the party system solidified. It remained common, however, to have a small number of Independent Liberal
or Independent Conservative
MPs into the 1950s. Today, election as an independent is far more common at the municipal level. Many municipalities have no tradition of political parties.
Candidates in federal elections who are not affiliated with a party have two options: independent or no affiliation. In the former case, they appear on the ballot with "Independent" following their name; in the second case, they appear with their name only. The two options are otherwise equivalent.
In Costa Rica
it is not possible, according to current legislation, for a citizen to directly run for any elected position as an independent without the representation of a political party.
Any nomination must be made through a political party, due to the framework of the current legal system, in which the political parties have a monopoly on the nomination of candidates for elected positions according to the Electoral Code.
However, becoming an independent politician after being elected is protected by virtue of Article 25 of the Constitution of Costa Rica
, which guarantees freedom of association
and therefore any citizen cannot be forced to remain in a specific political party and can join any another political group. It is common in each legislative period for some deputies
, term used for legislators) of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica
to become independents, and this has also happened with the mayors
) of the municipalities of cantons
Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez Calderón
(born in 1957), sometimes referred to by his nickname "Bronco", is a Mexican
politician who is the current governor for the northern state of Nuevo León
and holds no political party affiliation. As of June 7, 2015 elected Governor for Nuevo León, making history as the first independent candidate to win in the country.
was expelled from the Whig Party
in September 1841, and effectively remained an independent for the remainder of his presidency. He later returned to the Democratic Party
and briefly sought re-election in 1844
as a National Democrat
, but withdrew over fear he would split the Democratic vote.
, Rhode Island
have elected formally independent candidates as governor: Illinois's first two governors, Shadrach Bond
and Edward Coles
; James B. Longley
in 1974 as well as Angus King
in 1994 and 1998 from Maine; Lincoln Chafee
in 2010 from Rhode Island; Julius Meier
in 1930 from Oregon; Sam Houston
in 1859 from Texas; and Bill Walker
in 2014 from Alaska. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
is sometimes mentioned as an independent governor, though this is not technically correct; he ran as an A Connecticut Party
candidate (which gave him better ballot placement than an unaffiliated candidate would receive), defeating the Democratic and Republican party nominees. Another former governor who is sometimes mentioned as an independent is Jesse Ventura
, who actually ran as a member of the Reform Party's
Minnesota affiliate, which later disaffiliated from the party and reverted to their original name the Independence Party of Minnesota
In 2014, former Honolulu
mayor Mufi Hannemann
ran as an independent candidate for the governorship
of the State of Hawaii
after previously campaigning in the state's Democratic primary. As a result, Democratic candidate David Ige
was elected as governor with a plurality of 49%.
Congress – House of Representatives and Senate
There have been several independents elected to the United States Senate
throughout history. Notable examples include David Davis
(a former Republican
) in the 19th century, and Harry F. Byrd Jr.
(who had been elected to his first term as a Democrat) in the 20th century. Some officials have been elected as members of a party but became independent while in office (without being elected as such), such as Wayne Morse
senator George W. Norris
was elected for four terms as a Republican before changing to an independent after the Republicans lost their majority in Congress in 1930. Norris won re-election as an independent in 1936, but later lost his final re-election attempt to Republican Kenneth S. Wherry
in 1942. Vermont
senator Jim Jeffords
left the Republican Party to become an independent in 2001. Jeffords's change of party status
was especially significant because it shifted the Senate composition from 50 to 50 between the Republicans and Democrats (with a Republican Vice President
, Dick Cheney
, who would presumably break all ties in favor of the Republicans), to 49 Republicans, 50 Democrats, and one Independent. Jeffords agreed to vote for Democratic control of the Senate in exchange for being appointed chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
, and the Democrats held control of the Senate until the Congressional elections in 2002
, when the Republicans regained their majority. Jeffords retired at the end of his term in 2007. Wayne Morse after two years as an independent became a Democrat. Dean Barkley
of the Independence Party of Minnesota
was appointed a day before the 2002 elections to fill the senate seat of Paul Wellstone
who, while running for re-election, died weeks prior. Barkley refused to caucus with either party.
Independent candidates can contest elections on the basis of their personal appeal or to promote an ideology different from any party. Independents currently hold 6 seats in the Indian Parliament.
Independents have rarely been elected to the Dewan Rakyat
and state legislative assemblies. In Malaysian elections, many independent candidates lose their election deposit because they had failed to secure at least 12.5% or one-eighth of the total votes cast. Independent Senators
are quite rare.
As of May 2018, three independent MPs were elected in GE14
, but later joining Pakatan Harapan
), thus causing no representation for independent MP for that time. However, as of June 2018 and December 2018, the number increased to 13 independent Members of Parliament that now currently sit in the Dewan Rakyat
as of December 2018.
At the same time in December 2018, almost all members from Sabah UMNO
quit the party and became independent politicians.
- Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
- Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
- Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)
Members of Parliament of the 14th Malaysian Parliament
Malaysian State Assembly Representatives
Parliamentary independent candidates: The system in place whither the DPRK allows for unserious independent politicians to launch their own campaigns to gain a seat in parliament. The candidates however must be approved by the Fatherland Front, being the primary party of the DPRK. To cast votes to independent candidates the voting population must do so at independent voting stations. At the stations Korean people can debate extensively on which independent candidates would do the best for the Korean country. Nearly all electoral systems currently in practice in the DPRK that exist on a local level are made up of mostly independent Candidates. As the Fatherland Front and other major party's primarily operate in the urban heartland of the DPRK. These independent candidates will enjoy substantial debating in front of their local populations, before a vote is made. On the local level of North Korean elections, alliances between independent candidates is banned.
Pakistan also has independent politicians standing in elections. Pakistan's Parliament has General Elections, 2008
elected 30 Members. In the 2011 four candidates won seats in the National Assembly. In the 2013 General Election nine seats were won by independents.
Starting in 2001, several senators
had also resigned from their respective parties to become independents; at the start of the 15th Congress
, there were more independent senators than any other single political party. However, in contesting elections, all elected independents had been members of either the administration or the opposition coalition, until in the 2007 Senate election
when Gregorio Honasan
(a former senator) was elected as an independent while not a being member of any coalition. Honasan was earlier elected in 1995
as an independent candidate and being adopted by the Nationalist People's Coalition
-led coalition to become the first elected independent senator since Magnolia Antonino
, although Antonino was a guest candidate of the Liberal Party
In the local level, former priest Eddie Panlilio
was elected as governor of Pampanga
in 2007, defeating two administration candidates. When Panlilio eventually transferred to the Liberal Party in time for the 2010 election, it was ruled that he was beaten in the 2007 election; in 2010, he was defeated.
In contesting elections, independent candidates, while can spend as much as those with parties can under the law, they aren't able to tap in spending from a political party that nominated them.
Independent candidates are different from nonpartisan
politicians; the former are elected in openly partisan elections, while the latter participate in nonpartisan elections such as barangay elections
. Local legislatures may find itself with independent and nonpartisan members.
In 2019, Ko Wen-je founded the Taiwan People's Party
, so there is no independent local head at the moment.
The President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev
is an independent with support from the Bulgarian Socialist Party
. Radev was elected in the 2016 presidential election
. a. Independent politicians can enter into parliament only if they gather enough votes to pass the 4% threshold, thus behaving like political parties. However they can be part of a civic quota of a given party. Civic quotas are lists of independents candidates, who are represented on a given party's electoral list, without directly joining the party. Every party has the capability to invite independent candidates into their lists, without forcing them to join the party itself. Currently only the big-tent coalition ISMV
is known to have independent parliament members, elected via the civic quota.
In France, independent politicians are frequently categorised as sans étiquette ("without label") in municipal or district elections.
In the nineteenth-century and first half of the twentieth century, most French national politicians were independents. The first modern French political parties date from the early 1900s (foundation of Action Libérale
and the Radical Party
). The first legislation on political parties dates from 1911, though it was not until 1928 that parliamentarians were required to select a political party for the parliamentary register (either by formally joining a group, or by loosely working with one as an apparenté
, or associate), and not until after 1945 that structured political parties came to dominate parliamentary work.
Once elected, independents tended to attach themselves to a parliamentary party. In some cases independent deputies banded together to form a technical group of their own. In 1932, for instance, there were four technical groups created: the left-of-centre Independent Left
, with 12 deputies; the centre-right liberal Independents of the Left
, with 26 deputies; the right-wing agrarian Independents for Economic, Social and Peasant Action
, with six deputies; and the far-right monarchist Independent Group
, with 12 deputies - these four technical groups thus accounted for one-tenth of deputies. In addition, the larger parliamentary parties, including the socialist SFIO, centre-left PRRRS, centre-right ARD and conservative FR all included a greater or lesser number of independents who sat with their group for parliamentary work (apparentés
However, it is nowadays rare to have independent politicians at national level, if only because independents usually affiliate themselves to an existing political grouping. Noteworthy independents include José Bové
in the 2007 presidential election. Emmanuel Macron
was an independent politician as Minister, but formed his own party to stand in the 2017 presidential election.
From 2001 to 2008 "without label" was no longer used in the nomenclature of the Ministry of the Interior
. Candidates and lists presenting themselves as "without label" are classified in DVG (various left), DVD (various right), DVC (various center) or AUT (other) according to their political sensitivity. Therefore, from 2008 onwards, the DIV (miscellaneous) or the LDIV code for the "miscellaneous" list has been created to group unclassifiable or categorical interests and, by default, mayors without a declared label claiming no political sensitivity, be it left, center or right. The AUT (other) grade replaces the DIV grade without changing its definition.
, President of Germany
from March 2012 to March 2017 and the first Federal President without party affiliation, was to date the most prominent independent politician. In the German presidential election of 2010
he was the candidate of the Social Democrats
, in 2012
the candidate of all major parties except The Left
. His presidency—though his powers are limited—constitutes an exception, as Independent politicians have rarely held high office in German history, at least not since World War II
. It has nevertheless happened that a presidential candidate without any chances of election by the Federal Convention
was not a party member: for example, when in 1984 the Greens came up with the writer Luise Rinser
An independent member of parliament, who also is not a member of a voters' association, holds the status of fraktionsloser Abgeordneter
, i.e. not affiliated to any parliamentary group
. A representative who leaves their party (and their parliamentary group) and does not join another becomes fraktionslos
. In 1989 the Bundestag MP Thomas Wüppesahl
, who had left the Green Party in 1987 and was excluded from the Green parliamentary group the next year, obtained more rights as a fraktionsloser Abgeordneter
, for example more talking time and representation in a subcommittee, when the Federal Constitutional Court
decided partially in their favor.
Since World War II, only two ministers of (West) German cabinets have not been party members, though "on the ticket" of the major party in the coalition, the Social Democrats: Education Minister Hans Leussink
(1969–1972), and Minister of Economy Werner Müller
(1998–2002). Minister of Justice Klaus Kinkel
only shortly after his appointment joined the Free Democrats
in 1991. A special case is the former Federal Minister and Chancellor Ludwig Erhard
, whose affiliation with the Christian Democratic Union
(CDU) has not been conclusively established: although he served as Minister of Economics from 1949 to 1963 and as Federal Chancellor from 1963 to 1966, and was even elected CDU party chairman
in 1966, it seems that he never signed a membership form or paid contributions. Researches by Der Stern
magazine have revealed a record at the CDU party archives created only in 1968, with the faked date of entry of early March 1949.
In Ireland, proportional representation, the comparative looseness of formal parties, and strong local sentiment have meant that independents have formed a significant part of the parliamentary landscape since the foundation of the
state: in the early elections to Dáil Éireann
(parliament), independents accounted for 7% of seats in 1922
, 8.5% in 1923
, 10.5% in 1927
, and 9% in 1932
, though with the development of relatively more structured parties their numbers declined thereafter. These were similar proportions to the number of independents elected to other interwar European democracies such as France (see above).
It was not until the 2010s that independents would see a similar electoral success, with record scores for independents surpassing the previous interwar highs.
After the Irish general election in 2016
, there were 19 independent TDs
(parliamentary deputies) in the Dáil
(the lower house of the Irish parliament), representing 12% of the total. Two technical groups were formed by independent deputies to coordinate their activities: the Independents4Change
, with four deputies, opposed the government, while the Independent Alliance
formed part of the minority government's working majority. A number of other individual independents similarly supported the government, and received cabinet positions.
There are fourteen independent senators in the 25th Seanad
(the upper house of the Irish parliament), representing 23% of the total. Three of these are elected by the graduates of the National University of Ireland
and two from Dublin University
. There are also five independent senators who were nominated by the Taoiseach
and four elected by the technical panels.
was elected the first female and Independent President of Kosovo[a]
. She was also the first female and independent elected leader in the whole of the Balkans
The Polish Sejm
is elected by party-list ordination, which does not allow lone candidates to run, although since 2001 there has been a possibility to create non-partisan Voters' Electoral Committee
, komitet wyborczy wyborców
); they are by almost any means party lists, but no officially registered party is behind them. They can be unregistered parties, e.g. Kukiz'15
, or non-partisan movements, although the latter never reached the 5% threshold. National minorities candidates also form Voters' Electoral Committees (like German Minority Electoral Committee
, represented in Sejm since 1991), but they do not have to reach the nationwide threshold. However, during a Sejm term many members switch parties or become independents.
Tickets such as Civic Platform
during the 2001 election
were formally non-partisan, Civic Platform was widely viewed as a de facto political party, as it is now.
The situation in the Senate
is different, as the voting system allows independents to run as single candidates and some are elected in their own right. In the last parliamentary election (2015
) four independents won seats in the Senate.
All of Russia's Presidents
have been independents. Former president Dmitry Medvedev
declined an offer to join United Russia
, saying that he believes the President should be an independent so that he serves the interests of the country rather than his political party.
, the current president of Russia, was the head of the United Russia
party until 26 May 2012, but even then was not its member, thus formally was and still is independent.
The Swedish election system is based on parties nominating candidate MPs for their party ballots, and each party has to receive 4% or more of the national vote (or 12% in one region, which has never happened independently of also reaching the different 4% threshold). This makes running as an independent MP impossible. Once elected, the seat is personal; MPs may resign their party membership, or be stripped of it, while retaining their Riksdag
seats to become independent to become what is commonly referred to as a politisk vilde
) symbol: (-).
In the Government
(executive cabinet), there is no requirement for ministers to be MPs, or even have a political affiliation (though this has overwhelmingly been the case in modern times). This means that even the Prime Minister
could technically be an independent if chosen by the Riksdag.
The Registration of Political Parties Act 1998
laid down the first specific rules in the United Kingdom relating to the use of the term 'independent' by election candidates. That Act was repealed with most of its contents covered by Part II of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
. Candidates standing for United Kingdom local elections and United Kingdom parliamentary elections, including the devolved parliaments and assemblies, can use the name of a registered political party, or the term 'Independent' (or its Welsh language equivalent annibynol
) or no ballot paper description at all
(this latter choice was used, for example, by David Icke at the 2008 Haltemprice and Howden by-election
House of Commons
Journalist Martin Bell
was elected at Tatton
in the general election of 1997
, having stood on an anti-corruption platform, defeating incumbent Neil Hamilton
. He was the first independent to be newly elected to the Commons since 1951.
He stood unsuccessfully in a different constituency in 2001.
Two independent (or local party) members of parliament were elected in the 2005 election
, although both were defeated five years later. In the same election, Peter Law
was elected as an independent at Blaenau Gwent
. Law died on 25 April 2006: the resulting by-election
elected Dai Davies
of the local party Blaenau Gwent People's Voice
. The by-election was unusual as it was the first time in over eighty years that an independent had held a seat previously occupied by another independent.
There have also been several instances of politicians being elected to the Commons as representatives of a political party, then resigning the party's whip, or having it withdrawn. Examples in this in the 2010-2015 parliament included Mike Hancock
(formerly a Liberal Democrat), Eric Joyce
(formerly Labour) and Nadine Dorries
, a Conservative who had the whip withdrawn for part of the parliament and thus sat as an independent during that time.
Other independent candidates are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but cannot stand under its label. For instance, after being expelled from the Labour Party but before the Respect Coalition
was founded, British Member of Parliament
(MP) George Galloway
described himself as "Independent Labour".
On 23 March 2005 the Independent Network
was set up to support independent candidates in the General Election.
The Independent Network still supports Independent candidates in local, regional, national and European elections. It has an organic[clarification needed]
set of principles which are known as the Bell Principles and are very closely related to Lord Nolan's Standards of Public Life
. The Independent Network does not impose any ideology
or political influence on their candidates.
In March 2009, the multi-millionaire Paul Judge
established the Jury Team
, an umbrella organisation dedicated to increasing the number of independent candidates standing in Britain, in both national and European elections.
Independent and undescribed candidates
Part II of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
allows individuals who wish to stand as a candidate to all parliaments and assemblies in the UK, including the House of Commons, the right to use one of three ballot paper descriptions. Those descriptions are the name of a registered political party; the word "independent"; or no description at all.
Unless a candidate stands as "independent" or as a "No Description" candidate leaving the ballot paper description box blank, their candidature must be confirmed by a signed certificate from the relevant officer from a registered political party, as set out in Section 52 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006
House of Lords
Scottish Parliament, Welsh Parliament and Northern Irish Assembly Peter Law
was expelled from the Labour Party after standing against an official Labour candidate in Blaenau Gwent
at the 2005 UK general election and became an independent in the National Assembly and UK Parliament. In 2006 Peter Law died from a brain tumour
and his wife, Trish Law
campaigned and took the seat as an independent candidate at the sequent by-election and held onto the seat again in the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections
In 2016, Nathan Gill
as the then leader of UKIP Wales defected from the group to sit as an independent after a falling out with Neil Hamilton
who was elected UKIP Assembly group leader. Dafydd Elis-Thomas
left the Plaid Cymru
group later in 2016 after multiple fallings out with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood
. Elis-Thomas said his reason for leaving Plaid Cymru was that it not serious about working with the Welsh Labour
Government. Neil McEvoy
was expelled from Plaid Cymru on 16 January 2018 and is now sitting as an independent AM.
Nathan Gill stood down on 27 December 2017
and was replaced by Mandy Jones
. Mandy Jones left the UKIP group on 9 January 2018 over a fallout over her staff.
At the dissolution of parliament before the 2019 federal election
, four independents sat in the Australian House of Representatives
: Andrew Wilkie
(Member for Denison
), Cathy McGowan
(Member for Indi
), Kerryn Phelps
(Member for Wentworth
), and Julia Banks
(Member for Chisholm
). Of these, Wilkie had previously been a Greens candidate, McGowan had been a Liberal staffer, and Banks was elected as a Liberal MP before resigning from the party in November 2018. At the 2019 election, Wilkie was re-elected as the Member for Clark
, while McGowan retired, and both Phelps and Banks lost their seats. However, two new independents entered parliament: Zali Steggall
(Member for Warringah
) and Helen Haines
(Member for Indi
Originally, there were no recognised parties in the New Zealand parliament, although loose groupings did exist informally (initially between supporters of central government versus provincial governments, and later between liberals and conservatives). The foundation of formal political parties, starting at the end of the 19th century, considerably diminished the number of unaffiliated politicians, although a smaller number of independent candidates continued to be elected up until the 1940s. Since then, however, there have been relatively few independent politicians in Parliament. No independent candidate has won or held a seat in a general election since 1943
, although two independent candidates have been successful in by-elections
(in all cases after having held the seats in question as partisan candidates up until that point). Other politicians have become independents in the course of a parliamentary term, but not been voted into office as such.
The last person to be directly elected to Parliament as an independent in New Zealand was Winston Peters
, who won the 1993 by-election
electorate as an independent after having previously held it a member of the National Party
. By the time of the next general election
, he had formed his own party (New Zealand First
), and thus was no longer standing as an independent. Since that time, the only independents in Parliament have been people who quit or were expelled from their original party but retained their seats without going through a by-election. Some have gone on to found or co-found their own parties, with varying levels of success — examples include Peter Dunne
, Taito Phillip Field
, Gordon Copeland
, Tau Henare
, and Alamein Kopu
. Others have joined parties which were then outside Parliament, such as Frank Grover
and Tuariki Delamere
There were two independent MPs in the 49th New Zealand Parliament
; Chris Carter
and Hone Harawira
. Carter became an independent after his criticisms of the Labour Party
's leadership resulted in his being expelled from the Labour caucus, while Harawira resigned from the Māori Party
and, after a short period as an independent, also resigned as an MP in order to force the 2011 by-election
when he was re-elected as representative of his new political party, Mana
and retained the seat in the 2011 General Election. There were also two other parties which had only a single MP: United Future
with Peter Dunne
with David Seymour
. Neither Dunne nor Seymour was classed as an independent — Dunne's presence in Parliament was due to personal votes in his home electorate, and Seymour's presence was as the sole elected MP of ACT because of a collapse in their support in the 2011 election
. In the 50th New Zealand Parliament
there was one independent MP: Brendan Horan
, a former New Zealand First MP who was expelled from his party because of allegations of misappropriation of family assets.
Peter Dunne effectively became an Independent MP for a short period after his United Future political party was deregistered on 25 June 2013 by the Electoral Commission, as the party no longer had the required minimum of 500 members. The party was subsequently re-registered.
, there have been no political parties since 2003, when the Niue People's Party
disbanded, and all politicians are de facto
independents. The government depends on an informal coalition.
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Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 17:38
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