The Trinian political system does not place a great deal of emphais on political parties, but they do exist. The oldest of them were originally factions of aristocrats during the first decades of the Second Reign, around 250 years ago, although the continuity between the historic parties and the modern ones is sometimes somewhat questionable. These early parties represented broad political outlooks rather than cohesive policy platforms, and this remains basically true today — members of any given party can be expected to lean in a certain direction, but this is about as much as can be assumed.
Traditionally, the two major parties of Trinian politics have been the Party of Memory and the Party of Thought. On the whole, they reflect conservative and progressive attitudes, respectively. In recent years, other parties have arisen, most adopting the same naming style as the traditional parties — various leftist movements, for example, have organised themselves as the Party of Hope.
The Party of Memory (Tel Memŏra Dal) is the oldest political faction in Trinia, and also the most loosely organised. It has its origins in the Second Reign, although there is no precise date for its formation — rather, it evolved gradually from the various political interests which were dominant at the time. It was not until an opposing faction began to emerge that it acquired its name - the new faction described itself as the party of reason and progress, and the established powers replied by describing themselves as the guardians and preservers of old wisdom.
The Party of Memory today is basically a conservative grouping, at least by Trinian definitions. It supports the traditional political system of Trinia, and favours a strong role for the Houses. It is also supportive of preserving Trinian culture in the face of foreign influence, both in terms of social values and more visible things such as food, music, and dress. Its economic policy is generally protectionist, although there are differences of opinion inside the party as to whether or not to support the left-inspired economic policies currently in place in Trinia. In terms of foreign policy, the Party of Memory is mildly isolationist, and is a supporter of Trinia's neutrality. In recent years, the party has also come to adopt a form of environmentalism, arguing that Trinians have a duty of stewardship over the land and should not despoil it in the name of change and progress.
The Party of Memory is associated with the colour green. It is also frequently represented using images of trees and leaves — it is debated as to whether this is a consequence or a cause of the colour association.
The Party of Thought (Tel Şianem Dul) is the second oldest of Trinia's political parties, having been the primary rival of the Party of Memory since the Second Reign. It arose in opposition to the dominant political consensus of its time, accusing the senior figures of the day of being too bound up in tradition and custom. The Party of Thought presented itself as a offering fresh approach which discarded blind obedience to the old ways, instead being based on intellectual and philosophical debate. The defenders of the old way named themselves the Party of Memory in response, and the traditional party dynamics of Trinia were established.
The modern Party of Thought is considered to be progressive in its politics according to the Trinian definitions. Most members of the party argue that Trinian society should be allowed to evolve without the state attempting to enforce traditional norms, and its members support attempts by the state to promote equality in terms of womens' rights and minority rights. The party's economic policy leans more towards free trade than the Party of Memory, and its foreign policy is based on increasing Trinia's economic and cultural engagement with the rest of the world.
For various reasons, the Party of Thought is symbolically associated with wind and rain, both of which traditionally represent change and rejuvenation. (Storms and lightning were once used as a symbol, but today the party tends to use gentler imagery of soft rain and refreshing breezes). At one stage, there were also complicated religious connotations — these were meaningful several centuries ago, but the relevance has faded.
The Party of Hope (Tel Seberu Dul) is the third largest party in Trinian politics, being smaller than either the Party of Memory or the Party of Thought but nevertheless significant. It is essentially a coalition of various leftist groups, notably the League of Communists, the Socialist Party of Trinia, the Trinian Social Democratic Alliance, and the Trinian Worker's Party. In the days after Trinia regained its independence, the leftist block overtook the traditional parties as the country's dominant political group, but as the situation stabilised, both the Party of Memory and the Party of Thought reasserted their traditional position. The various leftist organisations, which had previously been rivals, came together in 307 AP with the intent of challenging the resurgence of the two major parties, and to recapture the momentum which the left had possessed during the independence struggle. They chose to adopt a name in the traditional style.
The Party of Hope generally advances similar policies to those of left-wing groups in other countries. It supports public ownership of important infrastructure, trade barriers to protect Trinian industry, a generous social welfare system, and high taxation. Many members of the party describe themselves as communist, although only a subset of these would be given that label in other countries — elsewhere, some might be called social democrats.
The Party of Hope makes extensive use of five-pointed stars and the colour red in its advertising. Both are borrowed from foreign leftist movements, although the colour red is also traditionally associated with the Principle of Compassion of traditional Trinian philosophy. It has also begun to use the sun as a symbol, fitting in with the nature imagery used by the two traditionally dominant parties.
The Party of Action (Tel Vezalŭra Dal), while not as large as the three parties mentioned previously, nevertheless manages to hold political office of some sort in all parts of the country, distinguishing it from the various other minor factions in Trinia. The modern Party of Action was formed relatively recently, during the period when Trinia was regaining its independence, but it takes its name from a small faction which existed in the Second Reign.
The Party of Action is strongly nationalist, and advocates that Trinia abandon its policy of neutrality and anti-militarism. It also opposes suggestions that ethnic and linguistic minorities should recieve increased autonomy, although does not currently propose to rescind measures already in place. Economically, most members strongly support free market policies, although some factions of the party argue for state assistance to certain industries deemed to be of national significance.
The Party of Action uses the colour purple, although no particular significance is attached to it — it was simply a colour that was considered distinct from those of other parties.
In addition to these four organisations, there are also a number of smaller parties have won political office on occasion. However, none of them are large enough that their presence in the Gathering of Monitors and other elected bodies can be expected as a matter of course. Some of these parties are based around particular ideologies, and others around regional or ethnic identities.
The more noteworthy of the minor parties are the Party of Purity (environmentalist), the Party of Dedication (religious), the Party of Choice (libertarian), the Aigadoro-Moranguese Rights Party (ethno-linguistic), and the Party of Trust (hardline communist).