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An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated to any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.

An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated to any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.

  • Independents may support policies which are different from those of the major political parties.
  • In some parts of the world electors may have a tradition of electing independents, so standing for a political party is a disadvantage.
  • In some countries (including Russia) a political party can only be registered if it has a huge number of members in more than one region, but in certain regions only a minority of electors support the major parties.
  • In some countries (including Kuwait), political parties are unlawful and all candidates thus stand as independents.

Some independent politicians may be associated with a political 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.

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