To classify types of parties, we must look into their structures, their views on power, and their roles in the political system. Based on the above, the following types of parties have been identified:
1. Democratic Parties:
These are parties that compete with others, for public support and once in power, preserve this element of competition, which may, in fact, lead to their being replaced in the citadels of state power by members of the opposition party e.g. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress (AC), in Nigeria.
2. Monopolistic Parties:
These are parties that once in power, they eliminate overt competition by other parties which in fact are usually outlawed. Parties under this group include the Communist party of the former Soviet Union and the Patriotic Peoples’ Front in Hungary.
3. Personalistic Parties:
This refers to parties that cluster around a personality and completely identify with the leader. These types of parties do not outlast the leader. The People Redemption Party (PRP) and Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP) are good examples.
4. Elitist Parties:
These are parties with rigid system for accepting new members. These parties usually have a well structured bureaucratic organisation. Elitist parties usually espouse a specific ideology and tries to erect legal barriers to competition by other parties.
5. Mass Parties:
These are parties which are open to virtually all who wish to join. By contrast, mass parties may be committed to the principle of free competition or they may opt once in power, to identify themselves with the entire nation and rule out the legitimate competition by other parties.