Political Parties: The Carte Party Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

Political parties have been in a declining state in recent political evolution and has provoked numerous discussions/arguments whether the political parties have been indeed in such a state or whether they have been simply restructuring their organisational and/or ideological principles to withstand certain challenges. Several theories were introduced/developed in the recent years so as to distinguish the “ideal” behavioural type of political party development. The most renowned “ideal” party types are the cadre party type, the mass party type (Duverger, 1954) and the catch-all party type (Kirchheimer, 1966). Nevertheless, a recent theory regarding party types proposed initially by Richard Katz and Peter Mair (1995) was the “Cartel Party” which also drew a lot of academic interest. The “Cartel Party” is a new model of political party development suggested by Richard Katz & Peter Mair (1995) as the last decades the electoral support and partisanship levels have been decreasing substantially, while voter volatility increased; thus political parties began to seek state subsidies and other much needed resources directly through the state, in order to secure “control” of the electoral rules, subsidies from the state and the media as well. Concomitantly, political parties allegedly employ their domination power to even “control” which new political parties may join the “cartel”, and which are left out of the equation. However, this new prospect within the political parties’ mechanism, ultimately alters their organisational and ideological principles, thus in this way give rise to the so-called “Cartel Parties”. In short, the theory of Cartelisation over the political parties suggested by Katz & Mair propose that political parties progressively adopt “cartel” character, by exploiting state resources for self-interest with the objective of eliminating political competition and ultimately securitising their success within the elections.
In general, the essence of “Cartel Party” theory can be derived from the word “cartel” per se as the authors of this theory compare/mirror the political parties with the business cartels. For instance, business cartels strive to limit/restrict or adjust the availability of goods in a certain market, so as to preserve (artificially) high prices, thus also minimising any challenge from competitors.
Such action, in turn negatively affects consumers, as it forces them to pay higher prices than they would for goods, as their availability is controlled by these business cartels. By doing so, business cartels avoid the risk of price-war damage from their rivals and in turn employ their market-dominance to achieve an advantageous-treatment from the state.
Similarly to business cartels, political parties increasingly over the years emulate the behaviour of business cartels according to Katz and Mair’s (1995) party type theory. The underlying reason for the rise of these “cartel parties” is claimed to be the increasing declination...

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