ⓘ Party of power


ⓘ Party of power

The term party of power refers to a political party that has a close relationship with the executive branch of government such that the party appears to function as an extension of the executive rather than as an autonomous political organization. The concept resembles that of a cartel party. In a presidential republic the party of power typically forms a legislative block that backs the executive. The concept has been commonly applied to post-Soviet political parties. Claims have been made that United Russia, the New Azerbaijan Party, Kazakhstans Nur Otan, the Peoples Democratic Party of Tajikistan, the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan and Georgian Dream are parties of power. Parties that have been considered as parties of power in the past include the Union of Citizens of Georgia, the Georgias United National Movement and the Republican Party of Armenia.

Parties of power are typically described as having a hierarchical top-down structure, being centralised, organised in clientelistic networks, lacking a defined or coherent ideology and playing a subordinate role towards the bureaucracy. They have been created by the state as a method to assist in the political interests of the executive branch but while also being reliant on the state to manipulate election outcomes.

The use of the concept and of the term "party of power" has been criticized, including by those who claim that, strictly speaking, United Russia and Nur Otan do not possess or exercise power themselves. It is not the parties that make decisions and policies in the last resort. The term "parties of power" may therefore be regarded as misleading.


1. Russian parties of power

In the Russian language, the term "party of power" or more correct "power party" or "party in power" is used to describe the party which advocates the current head of state, the party which belongs to/is controlled by the current government or the party established by the current highest official in the state. The terms "ruling party" and "party of power" can be considered as antonyms, because a party of power will be established after a presidential election to support the winner and not the reverse. The party has the same ideology as the president or prime minister. A party which supports the current president without difficulty wins parliamentary elections. After the party leader loses a presidential election, a party of power without coherent ideology, as a rule, ceases to exist.


1.1. Russian parties of power List of Russian parties of power

These parties were specially established for support of the incumbent president or prime minister in the Russian parliament:

  • United Russia 2001/2003–present
  • A Just Russia in 2006-2008/2010 as the second "party of power", support of Vladimir Putin and opposition to United Russia; in 2014 the party wants to join All-Russia Peoples Front
  • Unity 1999-2001/2003
  • Our Home – Russia 1995-1999, so called "centre-right party of power"
  • Party of Russian Unity and Accord 1993-1995 headed by Sergey Shakhray the second "party of power" after 1993 legislative election
  • Choice of Russia 1993-1995
  • Ivan Rybkin Bloc considered as potential centre-left "party of power" during 1995 legislative election
  • Interregional Group of Deputies/Democratic Russia 1990-1993, Congress of Peoples Deputies of the Soviet Union/Congress of Peoples Deputies of Russia/Supreme Soviet of Russia

2. Literature

  • Remington, Thomas 2013. Patronage and the Party of Power: President-Parliament Relations under Vladimir Putin. Power and Politics in Putins Russia. Routledge. pp. 81–110.
  • Gel′man, Vladimir 2013. Party Politics in Russia: From Competition to Hierarchy. Power and Politics in Putins Russia. Routledge. pp. 35–52.
  • Oversloot, Hans; Verheul, Ruben 2013, "Managing Democracy: Political Parties and the State in Russia", Political Parties and the State in Post-Communist Europe, Routledge
  • Herron, Erik S. 2009. Elections and Democracy After Communism?. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Del Sordi, Adele 2011, Parties of power as authoritarian institutions: The cases of Russia and Kazakhstan, Spanish Political Science Association AECPA