UK Support for Political Parties: A stock‐take

Research reports and studies
November 2009
Leni Wild and Alan Hudson

In theory, political parties play a central role within well‐functioning democracies, aggregating and representing citizens’ interests and formulating policy agendas that can respond to citizens’ concerns. They should be a crucial interlocutor between citizens and the state. In practice, in many countries – especially developing and transition countries – political parties are weak and disconnected from the policy process, and struggle to connect with or represent citizens and their interests.

Despite these weaknesses, there is increasing recognition amongst donors that political parties may need to be part of the solution in building better governance and contributing to more responsive and effective states.

This report is based on a review of support provided to strengthen political parties by the UK Government, by both the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It represents a first stage in providing the UK Government with a better basis for making decisions about whether and how to enhance its engagement with political parties in order to promote democracy and the reduction of poverty.

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