IFES Releases Innovative Book on Political Finance Regulation throughout the World

Publication Date: 
18 Nov 2009

News Type:

Work by the world’s premier elections assistance NGO aimed at establishing global standards

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has released Political Finance Regulation: The Global Experience, which offers insight into how the often-muddy intersection between money and politics can be regulated, taking into account the experiences of various countries around the world.

“The financing of campaigns, candidates, and parties continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of democratic development. This research provides timely input into the ongoing dialogue on how the regulation of money in politics, through enhanced transparency and the effective enforcement of legal frameworks, contributes to the legitimacy of elections and the electoral process,” says Michael Svetlik, IFES vice president for programs.

The concept for the book, edited by Magnus Öhman, IFES senior political finance advisor, and Hani Zainulbhai, IFES associate for political finance, arose from the two-plus years of IFES’ work on a United Nations Democracy Fund project aimed at establishing global standards for political finance. The book addresses and offers practical solutions for four key areas in the field: the disclosure of campaign and political party finance, spending limits, public funding of political parties and election campaigns, and political finance enforcement and oversight.

The authors, who include Öhman, Zainulbhai, Marcin Walecki, executive director of the European Partnership for Democracy, and Jack Santucci, IFES research associate, emphasize that when designing political finance regulation programs in specific countries, local practices and customs must be taken into consideration. Yet, while no universal formula exists to regulate political finance in every country, there are lessons for all to learn based on the experiences of different countries around the world. Along these lines, a recurring theme of the book is the growing international consensus that certain practices can contribute to more successful systems of political finance overall.

In 2003, the United Nations’ Office of Democracy and Governance said:

“Political finance is a vital issue for democracy, governance, and development. No matter how flawless are the country’s elections, how active its civil society, how competitive its political parties, and how responsible its local authorities, the role of money in politics undeniably influences the quality of democracy and governance. Only through greater transparency will one fully understand the extent and nature of this influence.”

Political Finance Regulation: The Global Experience aims to contribute to the conversation on how to establish standards to enhance transparency in the funding of political parties and candidates.

“This book is a very important contribution to current debates about international standards for the regulation of the financing of elections and political parties. Its great strength is that it goes in depth into controversial and intractable problems and does not merely offer simplistic solutions,” says Dr. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, President, International Political science Association Research Committee on Political Finance and Political corruption.

This book will be available for download on IFES.org on November 19, 2009. Print copies available upon request.

Media contact: Laura Osio, press officer, losio@ifes.org, (202) 550‐9634

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