Regional Political Party Initiative

Political parties in the Balkans aim to provide political leadership and policies that guide their countries toward inclusive, multiethnic democracy and Euroatlantic integration. With the prospect of European Union membership for much of the western Balkans, political parties need to navigate governmental, social, economic and political transformations required to join the EU.

To meet these goals, parties need to reform themselves by cultivating new leadership, enhancing policymaking and developing ideological orientations consistent with contemporary European practice. Learning from each other and from parties elsewhere in Europe can help in in this regard.

A network of democratically-minded leaders is coming into being across the Balkans’ political mainstream. Funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and supported by party foundations in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the U.K. and elsewhere, NDI is helping political parties in the Balkans clarify their identities in line with contemporary Social Democratic, Liberal or Center-Right ideologies; develop coherent public policy consistent with practice found in the EU; and cultivate new leaders among women and youth.

NDI works with 30 parties in the Balkans across the three main political “families” as part of its Regional Political Party Initiative. Policy schools for Liberal, Center-Right and Social Democratic parties have trained upwards of 200 party leaders in the mechanics of policy development. Drawing on European party models as well as party think tanks in Croatia and Serbia, parties are using the initiative to create their own policy development units, among them the Liberal Party of Macedonia, Montenegro’s Socialist People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

NDI also helps develop cross-party ties among women and young people. Center-Right parties have founded a network of youth forums. Social Democratic women have created a network to help each other in projects related to rural employment, lifelong learning, and social and maternity policies benefitting women. Liberal women leaders have also formed a regional training and policy development forum under NDI auspices that is now supported by the European Liberal Forum and the Novum Institute of Slovenia.

NDI emphasizes continued participant engagement in the initiative through webinars, online policy forums and manuals, and other means of mentorship and peer exchange.

Featured Publications

  • Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation (Now available in Burmese)
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