Collegial versus personal political parties

Gideon Rahat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


After briefly presenting a classification of collegial and personal parties, this chapter outlines three useful indices of centralized personalism in parties at the country level. They examine (1) the formal power of the party leaders, based on the codification of party regulations; (2) an estimation of the centrality of the party leaders in their parties, based on an expert survey; and (3) an estimation of the centrality of the ruling party leader, based on a codification of historical narratives. The chapter ends with a demonstration of the validity and usefulness of these indices. It presents bivariate analyses (1) of the relationships between levels of party personalism in democracies and government system types - identifying less personalism in parliamentary systems, though the difference is highly significant and quite strong only regarding ruling party personalism, and (2) of the relationships between levels of party personalism in democracies and various democrtaic aspects (age group, quality of the democracy, democratic culture). All correlations for all indices are moderate and significant: older democracies (first and second wave), more liberal and free democracies, and democracies with a strong democratic political culture are found to have less personal parties.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCollegial Democracy versus Personal Democracy
Subtitle of host publication‘We’ the People or ‘I’ the People?
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781040003053
ISBN (Print)9781032396064
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Chen Friedberg and Gideon Rahat; individual chapters, the contributors.


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