Political parties are a key element of successful democracies internationally, in particular for the formation and functioning of parliament. Not only do they sponsor candidates for election, they are a channel of communication between electors and their representatives. Parties aggregate political interests and their discipline provides predictability about MPs’ voting and policy stances. Ideally, their networks in the electorate should feed community goals into the policy and law-making process.
CDI devotes a significant part of our effort and resources in helping to promote the healthy operation of political parties. In the Pacific, where party structures are weak and personalised, much of our assistance is directed towards encouraging better cohesion within parties. In Indonesia and East Timor the emphasis is on strengthening the parties’ policy-making capacity and relations with the community.
We convene a wide range of intensive training courses and networking activities for parties. Some are targeted at fostering the political skills of younger, middle-level party leaders and activists, while others are designed for peer-to-peer interchange and dialogue amongst more senior figures. The programs have a strongly regional flavour, designed to encourage cross-country sharing of experiences.
One aspect of CDI’s special focus on promoting the political participation and representation of women is our annual Women in Politics course which provides development and networking opportunities for women aspiring for political careers as party workers or parliamentarians.
Many of activities properly combine our two major and related sectoral concerns of Political Party Development and Parliamentary Strengthening. Accordingly, listed below are all our activities which both focus primarily on, or include significant elements of, Political Party Development work: