The rise of the plutocrat party

Glenn Kefford, Duncan McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


One of the manifestations of party change in Western democracies has been the rise of the personal party. This type of party tends to be characterized by heightened personalization and weak grassroots organizations. So much so that they are neither built – nor expected to last – beyond the founder-leader. Although such parties have long been present in newer democracies, they are now increasingly found in established democracies. This paper examines a key sub-type of the personal party: the plutocrat party. It does so by focusing on two high-profile cases: Silvio Berlusconi’s parties in Italy (Forza Italia and the Popolo della Libertà) and Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party in Australia. Utilising interview material and party documents, this paper presents the first comparative study of how such parties are organized, how decision-making functions and how those within them view the leader, his role and their own roles.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventEuropean Consortium of Political Research Annual Conference - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 26 Aug 201529 Aug 2015


ConferenceEuropean Consortium of Political Research Annual Conference
Internet address


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