In Marxist-Leninist states, the party is seen as "the vanguard of the people" and therefore usually has the power to control the state, and the non-state party officials in the politburo generally hold extreme power.
Soviet Unionfor example, the General Secretary of the Communist Party did not necessarily hold a state office like president or prime minister to effectively control the system of government. Instead, party members answerable to or controlled by the party held these posts, often as honorific posts as a reward for their long years of service to the party. On other occasions, having governed as General Secretary, the party leader might assume a state office in addition. For example, Mikhail Gorbachevinitially did not hold the presidency of the Soviet Union, that office being given as an honour to former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Stalinruled the Soviet Union for well over a decade before assuming the governmental position of Premier of the Soviet Unionduring World War II.
Party Congresselects a Central Committeewhich, in turn, elects a General Secretary. Under Stalinhowever, this model was essentially reversed and it was the General Secretary who determined the composition of the Politburo and Central Committee.
Trotskyistparties, the Politburo is a bureau of the Central Committeetasked with taking day-to-day political decisions, which must later be ratified by the Central Committee. It is appointed by the Central Committee from among its members. The post of General Secretary carries far less weight than in the Stalinist model. See, for example, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.
*Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee in the
Politburo of the Communist Party of China
Politburo of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Politburo of the Bulgarian Communist Party
Politburo of the Romanian Communist Party
*Politburo of the
Lao People's Revolutionary Party
Politburo of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front
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