Progressive and socialist parties emerged with the serious economic difficulties of the . The Conservatives were nearly wiped out in the 1933 election, finishing behind the new (CCF), which won seven seats and 31 per cent of the vote, and the new Liberal government of Premier which ruled for the next eight years. In the following years Premiers (1941–47) and (1947–52), both Liberals, were called upon to lead .
The (formerly the CCF) became the Official Opposition in the 1960s with the virtual disappearance of the provincial Liberal and Conservative parties. The NDP formed government for the first time in 1972, led by . The electorate tended to polarize in roughly equal numbers around the two parties, with Social Credit advocating free enterprise and government restraint, and the NDP advocating moderate socialism, and government economic and social involvement.
Social Credit regained power in 1975, led by , son of W.A.C. Bennett, and was re-elected in 1979, 1983, and again in 1986 under a new leader, . , Canada's first female premier, succeeded Vander Zalm as leader of the scandal-plagued party as premier in 1991, only to be defeated at the polls later that year by the NDP, led by former mayor of Vancouver . That election saw Social Credit reduced to little more than a rump party and the return of the Liberals as a major force in BC provincial politics, forming the Official Opposition for the first time in 40 years. In 1996 the NDP won their second consecutive mandate, under . He resigned, under pressure, in August 1999. In 2001, Liberal came to power, and was re-elected with majorities in 2005 and 2009. In 2010, suffering from low popularity linked mostly to his imposition of the HST, Campbell stepped down as premier. He was succeeded by former deputy minister , who led the Liberals to a surprise majority in 2013. Although Clark did not win her seat in the May election, she won a by-election in Westside-Kelowna in July 2013.