Particracy (also partitocracy, partocracy, or partitocrazia) is a de facto form of government where one or more political parties dominate the political process, rather than citizens and/or individual politicians.[citation needed] As argued by Italian political scientist Mauro Calise in 1994, the term is often derogatory, implying that parties have too much power—in a similar vein, in premodern times it was often argued that democracy was merely rule by the demos, or a poorly educated and easily misled mob. Efforts to turn "particracy" into a more precise scholarly concept so far merely appear partly successful.[1]

Rationale and types

Particracy tends to install itself as the cost of campaigning and the impact of the media increase so that it can be prevalent at the national level with large electoral districts but absent at a local level; a few prominent politicians of renown may hold enough influence on public opinion to resist their party or dominate it.

The ultimate particracy is the one-party state, although in a sense that is not a true party, for it does not perform the essential function to rival other parties. There it is often installed by law, while in multi-party states particracy cannot be imposed or effectively prevented by law.

In multi-party regimes, the degree of individual autonomy within each can vary according to the party rules and traditions, and depending on whether a party is in power, and if so alone (mostly in a de facto two party-system) or in a coalition. The mathematical need to form a coalition on the one hand prevents a single party from getting a potentially total grip, on the other hand provides the perfect excuse not to be accountable to the voter for not delivering the party program promises.