11 Essential Features of Political Elites

The following can be described as the essential features of a Political Elite:

(1) A political elite or power elite consists of a minority of people-the chosen element of the society.

(2) Political elites of a democratic system are backed by the general support and consent of the masses.

(3) It is mostly through elections that political elites establish their popularities and the right to exercise power in society.

(4) Political Elites occupy big positions and control the decision-making mechanism.

(5) Elites exercise power and influence because they possess some superior qualities intellectual ability, administrative capacity, higher positions, military power, popular legitimacy and credibility or moral authority.

(6) A society consists of many kinds of elites. There may be a governing elite, a power elite, a national elite, elites occupying high status, etc. Further there may be social elites, political elites, economic elites and so on. These various categories of elites represent the highest indices in their own branches of activity.

(7) There is a continuous alteration or movement of elites in a democratic system.

(8) In democracy, the political elites consist of persons who are duly elected by the people. Political power is exercised by political elites in the name of the people. In actual practice, democracy is an elitist system.

(9) The concept of elite postulates that behind every talk or ideal of equality there is inequality in actual practice. The elites rule the masses. The elites exercise power over the masses in the name of “Popular Will”, “General Will” and “Consent of the Governed.”

(10) Elites grow and develop in every society and compete for power.

(11) In democratic systems, the memberships of the political elites are open to all the people. There is an ever-present circulation or alteration in the political elites.

Submitted by : Professor Gana, Category : Knowledge