The Independence Party of Howland (abbreviated IPH, occasionally Indy, nearly always referred to as simply Independence) is a center-right political party in Howland, one of the two major parties in Howland politics. The party was founded in 1924, which makes it Howland's oldest surviving political party. Its primary competitor for political office in Howland is the Howland Social Democrats.
Independence is the most succeesful political party in Howland in terms of electoral performance. It has won 16 of Howland's 22 general elections, and served as the governing party from 1949–1964, 1967–1976, 1979–1994 and 2000–2009. Since the 2009 election, Independence has been in opposition in the House of Representatives, holding 21 of the 54 seats.
The contemporary Independence Party generally advocates economic liberalism and social conservatism. However, the party has always had prominent social liberal and libertarian membership and has been responsible for a number of significant social and political reforms. Historically, the party has supported a higher degree of economic protectionism and interventionism than it has in recent decades, however from its foundation the party has identified itself as anti-socialist. Its constitution and main platforms indicate that Howland's middle class would form the party's main support base.
Historically oriented toward middle-class Howlanders, Independence has broadened its support based through mergers or compacts with smaller parties such as the Agrarian Party, the Rural and Country Party, the Conservative Alliance, the Christian Democratic Party and others. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, a left-oriented middle class emerged that did not support Independence, rather siding more with the competiton, the Social Democrats. One effect of this was the formation of several breakway parties, namely the Center Party and Today: The National Party.
Today, Independence appeals consistently to country and upper middle class voters, and has done increasingly well among socially conservative working-class voters in recent years. However, Independence's key suppot base remains the upper middle classes; 8 of the 10 richest constituencies are held by Independence, most of which are safe seats.