TYPES OF POLITICAL PARTIES
- Mass party: This type of party cuts across tribes, interests and individuals. It is made up of all manner of people; rich, poor, literate, illiterate, etc. People wishing to become members are free to join. It is a party for all and it emphasizesgrassroot support.
- Elite party: It is a party that has a closed membership. It is a party for the elite. That is, it is dominated by men and women of influence and affluence like lawyers, doctors, big businessmen, etc. They believe that the control of government should be in the hands of those with distinction and of high intellectual standing.
- Broker party: This is a party formed with the aim of balancing or bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. These parties are formed in capitalist countries where there is no justice, equity and even distribution of wealth. Members are drawn from upper and lower classes for the sake of social justice.
- Charismatic party: Individuals with unique and enviable qualities, talent, etc can form these parties. People are attracted to these parties because of the charisma of those individuals that formed them. An example is the Action Group (A.G) of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
- Religious party: A party could be formed by religious fanatics in religions of the world in order to consolidate their doctrines and sentimental beliefs. In some countries, religious parties are very strong in the political process. E.g Iran.
- Ideological parties: In these parties, ideologies or beliefs are the hallmarks of their exisyence, which in most cases are socialist and communist ideologies. Examples include Communist party of the former Soviet Union, Chinese Socialist party, etc. Most of these countries operate one-party system.
FACTORS WHICH DETERMINE THE ELECTORAL SUCCESS OF A POLITICAL PARTY
A political party should be able to do well in an election if most of these factors are put in place.
- Good leadership: The party should have an effective and purposeful leadership. The leaders must be intelligent, competent and democratic in carrying out their duties.
- Wide membership: The party must not restrict its membership to a particular sect, rather, it should cut across all classes and levels of the society.
- Strong financial base: The party should be financially sound.It does not necessarily mean that it must be very rich before it can win an election rather it should be able to afford most of its financial commitments. This can be achieved through payment of dues, levies by members and donations from supporters.
- Discipline: The members if the party must be disciplined. They must abide by the rules and regulations of the party. When the members are disciplined, oneness is achieved.
- Broad-based manifesto: The manifesto of the political party should not contain everything, rather, it should relate to the wishes and aspirations of the society at large. It must contain what the people need most.
- Political education: The party must engage in educating voters. Apart from using the mass media, it can sponsor public lectures or carry out researches on issues. The political education can further be carried out through regular meetings, rallies and campaigns.
- Publicity campaign: The party must have a powerful publicity campaign or propaganda machinery. Through this avenue, the party manifesto can be sold to the general public.
- Equality: Party patronage must be equitably distributed. No section of the society should hold more offices or enjoy more facilities than other areas.
- Quality of candidates: The type of candidates presented by a political party to contest elections may make or mar the party’s chances at the polls. The higher the quality of contestants presented by a political party for elective post, the higher its chances of winning an electoral contest and vice versa.
HOW POLITICAL PARTIES ARE FUNDED
- Registration of members: Every party members are expected to be registered. The amount usually fixed for registration must be affordable by people. The amount so realized is used for administrative purposes.
- Payment of dues: Political parties impose monthly, quarterly or yearly dues on their members. These help to distinguish between party members and party sympathizers. The ability of one to pay the due will determine one’s eligibility in holding an office within the party.
- Fund raising ceremonies: Parties could organize social events like fund raising, concerts, dances and bazaars. In serious situations, party members who occupy important postscontribute a given percentage of their salaries to the party coffers.
- Imposition of levies: They can impose levies on their members. The amount so levied must be affordable by the members.
- Government assistance: There is government patronage. In some one-party countries and western type democracies, governments help parties through the provision of grants. For example, in places like Germany, Sweden, Italy and Denmark, parties receive a fixed amount from government on the basis of the number of seats or votes they win in an election.
- Donations: They get money through donations and sponsorships from individuals and corporate bodies within and outside the country. In order to have a say in government, some well-to-do individuals and corporate bodies sponsor individuals or make financial donations to the parties.
- Borrowing: Lastly, parties can borrow money from the banks to finance their projects, programmes or campaigns.