Political parties have traditionally aimed to create large memberships to sustain and advance the objectives of their political platforms.

This way parties became the main vehicle for political activism and the gatekeepers for political representation. Membership was based on active participation in the activities of the party and in some cases on paying a fee to finance the party. Today, many parties still boast large traditional memberships, yet a trend of decreasing numbers is observed globally.

While formal membership is decreasing, new forms of political party membership are being introduced. These new forms involve new types or levels of membership that require less commitment, or do not include any payment of fees.

This Primer analyse these new forms of political party membership and presents how different parties and contexts have given birth to different ways of engaging citizens in the party’s life.


Publication date
17 June 2020
Number of pages
978-91-7671-315-0 (PDF)


1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Perspectives on new forms of party membership

4. How do new forms of party membership work?

5. Issues to consider before renewing or updating party membership models

6. Conclusions


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New Forms of Political Party Membership

Political Party Innovation Primer 5
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