Democracy that Delivers: Fighting Electoral, Political and Judicial Corruption
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) new mission – together we build democracies that deliver for all – marks the biggest shift in IFES’ mission since we were established 32 years ago. This shift responds to a myriad of new challenges confronting democratic institutions and processes, including the entrenchment of corrupt practices in electoral and political processes. In many countries, elections are central to cycles of systemic corruption. Incumbent politicians and their supporters may have unfettered access to government resources and in-kind support to enrich themselves and gain an unfair electoral advantage. After election or reelection, these politicians then have an incentive to “pay back” the services rendered and prevent reforms that would curtail corrupt practices.
Pervasive corruption erodes the credibility and legitimacy of democratic institutions, entrenches fractures in society and undermines governments’ ability to serve their citizens. – IFES President and CEO Anthony Banbury
IFES is a global leader in diagnosing and addressing corruption that undermines democratic institutions and values, with an emphasis on supporting transparency, accountability and compliance as vehicles for addressing this challenge to the public sector:
Strengthening Anti-Corruption Frameworks
IFES is an accredited observer to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption Conference of the States Parties and partners with domestic stakeholders and influencers to identify concrete initiatives to impel governments to uphold their commitments to regional and global anti-corruption mechanisms. With support from the United States Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, IFES is working both regionally and globally to strengthen national implementation of anti-corruption commitments and recommendations.
Regulation of Political Finance and Campaign Finance
IFES empowers domestic groups to advocate for stricter compliance, as well as regulatory reform toward more transparent and accountable political finance systems. This supports a level playing field for parties and candidates, including women and minority candidates. In Guatemala, building the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s (TSE) capacity to address illicit campaign financing is integral to the fight to reduce corruption in politics. IFES supports the TSE’s efforts to address corruption and influence the electoral process through enforcement of the 2016 Law on Elections and Political Parties.
Strengthening Governmental and Independent Oversight Mechanisms
IFES has trained investigators and supported civil society partners to use Parallel Expense Tracking (PET) to monitor campaign expenses and abuse of state resources. IFES organized a study trip to the Baltics for Ukrainian investigative journalists to gain hands-on experience in monitoring political finance and investigating cases of corruption.
Preventing the Abuse of State Resources
IFES promotes more effective safeguards to prevent incumbency advantages from impacting elections. It does so through rigorous assessments, monitoring and advocacy, legal and regulatory reform and partnerships with responsible government agencies. For example, IFES is equipping civil society organizations with cutting-edge techniques for monitoring and publicizing the abuse of state resources.