Ruling clique

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A ruling clique is a group of people who jointly rule an oligarchic form of government.

Ruling cliques generally differ from another type of oligarchy: a military junta. Military juntas are always ruled by military personnel (often high-ranking like general). A ruling clique can include people from various professions. The ruling elites who comprise the leadership tend to form a council, political party, or another form of an organized group. The high-ranking members share a rough balance of power although sometimes one or more members seek to increase their power at the expense of others or some of them may attempt to transform the system into an autocracy or make it more democratic.

Some ruling cliques could be considered a form of aristocracy while others are based on a very small circle of rulers rather than a broader based organization such as a political party. In some cases, the entire ruling clique is composed of a council of leaders who are the only members of the clique.