Business Magazine

Training Political Parties for Democracy

Posted on the 22 September 2014 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal

A new Congress is inaugurated in Colombia.

Strong and well-functioning political parties are an essential component to any thriving democracy.  Political parties link citizens and their governments, represent the interests of constituents, and influence economic policymaking. In any political system, a party’s capacity to influence policy determines its success, so party platforms are instrumental for parties to participate effectively in the discussion and implementation of policies.  The party platform outlines a set of policy alternatives that the party seeks to implement.  The economic component of a party platform is crucial to create and implement policies that deliver economic growth and opportunities to people.

The ideas presented in political party’s economic platform will influence the operation of businesses and shape national economic policy. These platforms are not static documents as they continually evolve and respond to the challenges a country faces at a particular moment in time.  Successful political parties will be ready to revise and adapt the economic component of their platforms to changing economic conditions. Training political parties to not only develop solid economic platforms but to revise and respond to ever changing economic conditions is an important initiative in the efforts to support thriving market oriented democracies.

A legislative advisory service analyzes proposed legislation and provides simple cost/benefit assessments of its impact. This service provides a mechanism for private sector organizations to express their views on economic issues, take part in national economic policymaking and ultimately promotes policies favoring private enterprise and a market economy. It also helps legislators make informed decisions and educates the public about economic measures under government consideration.  Legislative advisory programs are intended for countries where the legislature needs strengthening, the country’s executive and political leadership are open to economic reform, and the business community is supportive of economic reform and active in public-private dialogue.

CIPE has worked with several international partners implementing legislative advisory services to improve the national business environment. In Colombia, a series of monthly policy briefs served as the basis for technical advice to the Congress and expanded public debate on legislative initiatives. Rigorous analysis was effective when followed up by frequent meetings with Congress men and their staff. A legislative advisory service in Ghana was distinguished by its gathering of diverse private and public perspectives in policy roundtables. The institute hosting the roundtables used them to encourage participation and to shape the recommendations published in its legislative alerts. Finally, an association in Jordan further built a coalition of business and political leaders in order to advocate discussion on the issues in its policy papers. In so doing, it brought the voice of the private sector to the policy arena.

Amol Nadkarni was a 2014 Knowledge Management Intern at CIPE.

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