Socialist democracy is a form of democracy. It includes ideologies such as council communism, democratic socialism and social democracy as well as Marxist democracy like the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was embodied in the Soviet system (1917-1991).
Socialist democracy can also be a political system as it was in the case of Soviet democracy or a system of political party organization like democratic centralism, or a form of democracy espoused by political parties or groups that support Marxist-Leninist one-party states. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945-1992) styled itself a socialist democracy as did the People's Republic of Bulgaria (1946-1990) and the Socialist Republic of Romania (1947-1989).
Several parties or groups which tend to have a connection to the reunified Fourth International use this label. Parties include Socialist Democracy in Australia, Socialist Democracy in Brazil, Socialist Democracy in Ireland, the Socialist Democracy Group in England, the Socialist Democracy Party in Canada and the Socialist Democracy Party in Turkey.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims to maintain principles of socialist democracy. CCP Chairman Mao Zedong advocates the people's democratic dictatorship which emphasizes the importance of dictatorship of the proletariat in the democratic process. In the reform and opening-up period, Deng Xiaoping said that that democracy is the essential element of socialism as there will be no socialism and modernization without democracy. Under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, the CCP continues socialist democracy, under which the National People's Congress selects state leaders.