POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Independent Politician

An independent politician (sometimes known as a non-partisan politician) is someone who chooses to be involved in politics but not as a member of a political party. In the US for example, where voters and politicans are divided up into two camps on many divisive issues, an indpependent candidate may wish to stand to represent a mix of beliefs and policies. Similarly, for local elections being affiliated with a political party may not be necessisary or indeed, advantageous for a candidate who may be running on a locally based platform. 

George Washington remains the only president in US history to be elected as an independent so far. He was not affiliated with any political party at the time of his election nor during his time in office.

Interestingly, in Russia all of the Presidents have been independents, with Dmitry Medvedev (predecessor to Vladimir Putin) claiming that presidents should represent the nation as a whole rather than a particular group of voters. 

See also: The Democratic Party, The Republican Party, Independent Voter

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