In every region of the world, people are frustrated with their political institutions. Public opinion polls cite declining levels of trust in political parties and from Mexico to India, people have taken to the streets to protest corruption, civic oppression, limited socio-economic opportunities and other collective grievances. In the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Ukraine and elsewhere, new groups have channeled these frustrations, and entered the formal political arena, offering innovative forms of political engagement and proposals to transform the political system in order to benefit a greater share of citizens. Even as they contest elections and seek to control the reins of government, MBPs often reject the label of political party, a title they consider to be irreparably tainted.
While some MBPs clearly fall along the illiberal spectrum, others outline objectives – such as increasing transparency in politics or expanding meaningful inclusion – that seem consistent with democractic progress and renewal. Despite their initial promise, several MBPs have struggled to translate their momentum into electoral success, effective governance or the political reforms they campaigned on.
With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, NDI is examining:
- Why and how MBPs emerge;
- The key challenges and lessons learned from the development and evolution of these groups; and
- The implications MBPs and their experiences have for safeguarding and renewing party systems and democracies around the world.