Elite Party | Definition, Features & Examples
An elite party is a party whose membership is restricted to certain no tables or important personalities in the society. It is a party whose leadership avoids being too influenced by the masses. The British Conservative Party, for example, began as an elite party.
An elite party is also known as cadre party. It usually comprises the wealthy, the professionals and the influential. In modern times, there is scarcely any party that can be correctly described as elitist.
Features of Elite Party
The elite party is characterized by The following:
- Most elite parties are formed by functions of a party in the legislature. As such, the parties are usually centred on a few important politicians.
- Since the party is formed around a few influential personalities, it usually lacks a clear-cut ideology and program.
- The expansion of the suffrage and the need to capture political power has compelled elite parties to establish local branches to broaden and organise their support in the country.
- The elite parties are sometimes called the cadre parties.
- Leaders are chosen on the basis of ability and influence.
- Members is not open to everybody. Most of the members have upper or middle-class background. That is, emphasis is on quality and not quantity.
- As regards party elite behaviour, party leaders do not usually seek a collective end. What they seek instead are personal gains which balance the investment they made in party activities. Such ends maybe status, monetary rewards, etc.
- Although an elite party may have expanded its membership to accommodate all the people, the ordinary members play only limited role in the determination of party policy and action. That is, in spite of changes in it’s structures and organisation, the elitist condition remains unchanged.