What is a Political Party?
A group of people that is organized for the
purpose of winning government power, by
electoral or other means.
A political organization which nominates
candidates for election to a legislature.
Characteristics of a
Has an organized structure with lines of
authority and power distribution.
Seek to attract popular support in the
form of votes.
means formal attachment to a political
party, usually involving the assumption of obligations
to the party and receiving privileges from the party.
Usually require a person to apply formally for
membership, and party officials can accept or reject the
application (though in fact they are usually accepted).
The person must at least pay annual dues and sometimes
take an oath to support the party’s principles and
Party Membership Rules:
Principal Activities of Parties
Parties virtually monopolize
nominations, which give them tremendous power
to shape governments and policies.
Those professionals, hired by the candidates
for substantial fees, organize high-tech campaigns
that feature such up-to-date (and costly)
techniques and raising money by computerized
direct mail advertising.
The Functions of
The political party is still likely to be a
structure that identifies potential leaders, brings
them to public attention, and secures them the
support necessary for taking public office.
The most effective way for parties to
attract a wide base of support is to set up internal
party procedures that permit different points of view
-different interests-to be
presented, discussed, compromised and aggregated.
The successful party finds out what people
want and finds way to combine and address those
demands. Specific policies inevitably begin to
emerge in this process.
In today’s world of mass media, political
consultants, and direct mail advertising, the parties still play
a part in ensuring that voters are registered, that they know
the differences among the candidates, and that they know
when and where to vote on election day.
The leader of the party winning the most
votes takes the top leadership role (be it
president or prime minister), works with the
advice of a cabinet formed of his own party.
Differences among Parties
In the Nature and Role of Ideology
The platforms of other parties say
relatively little about ideologies and focus mainly
on the parties’ proposed solutions to specific
problems that especially concern voters at the
time of the election.
a) Missionary Parties
Parties whose principal aim is to win
converts for their ideologies, not to maximize
their votes so as to win elections.
b) Broker Parties
Parties whose main goal is to win
elections, and who therefore appeal to as broad a
spectrum of interests and ideologies as possible.
Leader’s control of the members achieved by
dispensing rewards & imposing sanctions.
The extent to w/c party members holding
public office act together on policy issues.
The system of interactions resulting from
Political system in which only one
political power is allowed.
Hegemonic party system
A system in which there is more than
a single party.
A state in which just two parties dominate.
Other parties might exist but they have no
A system where more than two parties have
some impact in a state’s political life.