Poll results consistently show that political parties in Latin America have low levels of credibility among citizens. According to regional Latinobarómetro poll results for 2010, almost six in ten Latin Americans think political parties are essential to democracy. However, less than one in three Latin Americans believe that parties are governing for the benefit of all. Because of the unique and indispensable role that political parties play in democracy, their lack of credibility in the region has contributed to a crisis of democratic governance and representation.
In response to these challenges, NDI launched the Political Party Network (PPN) in 1999 as a regional initiative to strengthen political parties. The PPN builds on NDI’s political party assistance expertise to promote an exchange of experiences and materials and motivate parties to explore more modern, transparent and responsive political practices.
An interactive website in Spanish, ndipartidos.org, provides easy access to NDI’s library of political party training materials and other documents on party reform topics such as internal democracy, transparency and inclusion of underrepresented sectors. The PPN website has proven to be a useful source of information for political activists interested in strengthening and reforming their parties. The library also contains documents on the role of political parties in government and in opposition groups, outreach to other political and civic actors and elections.
The Network also serves as a forum for parties to share innovative party renewal ideas and as a support network for reform-minded political leaders.
Studies have shown that the low confidence in parties stems partly from disillusioned citizens who believe elected governments are unresponsive in addressing major social concerns such as reducing poverty and inequality. In response, NDI has been developing tools and curriculums to help politicians better respond to constituent needs at the local and municipal level. These methodologies and materials are available via training initiatives in the region and on the PPN website.
Since 2007, NDI has provided technical assistance to political parties in countries where the Institute does not have an active political party strengthening program. This assistance is provided in response to specific requests by political parties and based on NDI’s assessment of each party’s needs and the potential impact of assistance.
For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:
Mario Mitre or Sam Downing: