Kosovo’s snap parliamentary elections on June 11, 2017, have offered the country an opportunity to move past recent political impasses and reorient political institutions to the pressing needs of its citizens. Continuing a pattern of extraordinary elections, these elections were precipitated by a long-running political crisis set off by the previous parliamentary election, in June 2014. A six-month deadlock over forming the new government led to opposition protests in parliament, some of which turned violent.
This guide aims to identify areas of disconnect between political parties and citizens, and highlights possible areas of party reform. The document includes: key recommendations for reform-minded parties; case studies and personal experiences from party practitioners; and worksheets and critical questions to help parties think through practical applications for the suggestions provided.
Washington, D.C. -- The National Democratic Institute (NDI) today congratulated Ambassador Mark Green, president of the International Republican Institute (IRI), for his nomination to be administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). A former congressman, ambassador and leader of the Initiative for Global Development, Green has extensive experience in, and deep knowledge of development, diplomacy and democracy assistance. NDI and IRI work in partnership to advance democratic institutions worldwide.
As the Iraqi army's offensive against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) entered its fourth month in February 2017, NDI conducted 12 focus groups with citizens to gauge support for national institutions and gather expectations about post-liberation governance. Three unexpected findings from participants in the focus groups include:
Since 1999, NDI in Kosovo has helped citizens and political leaders at all levels build a strong civic culture by establishing comprehensive and durable democratic institutions. As part of its support to political parties, NDI has been working with their leadership to foster internal democracy, with a particular focus on opening more space for women and youth to take leadership roles and invest in increasing their capacities.
Elections are a principal democratic process, although they alone do not guarantee citizen influence over policy making, the responsiveness of public officials, or their responsible use of state resources. Quality elections matter a great deal, but only insofar as they put citizens in the driver’s seat when it comes to steering the work of government. For this reason, elections should be treated as opportunities that not only allow citizens to choose leaders, but that can also begin to position citizens as informed, organized and active participants in policy making.