Press Release

How can political parties (re)connect with the citizens? A global panel discussion


STOCKHOLM—The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance is hosting a panel discussion on the crisis of political representation as it relates to political parties. 

Although informal political participation is on the rise, there has been a drop in voter turnout and political party memberships; and a general disconnect between political institutions and the people they are supposed to represent. This is resulting in a political environment where formal political institutions are becoming less representative of the people. In discussing this issue, the panelists will address ways in which political institutions can reach out to the people, as well as how people can better engage with institutions.

The panel features speakers from different regions, who can speak to the different experiences of political disconnect in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and how political parties in those regions can reconnect with citizens to improve the quality of representative democracy.  The panelists are Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN; Njeri Kabeberi, Executive Director, Greenpeace Africa; Bassma Kodmani, Professor of International Relations at Paris University and Jens Orback, Secretary General of the Olof Palme International Center. Pitsuwan, Kabeberi and Kodmani are all members of International IDEA’s Board of Advisors. Opening and closing remarks will be made by the Secretary-General of International IDEA and former Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme. 

“We are seeing a decline in citizen participation in formal political institutions. At the same time citizens are more politically active in the form of rising protest movements and through social media platforms. This creates a disconnect between people and their representatives”, says Keboitse Machangana, Director of Global Programme at International IDEA. “As a democracy-building organization, International IDEA is concerned about such a disconnect as it risks having democracies that are not in touch with the needs and aspirations of the people, if only a few people are participating”.

The event will take place at International IDEA’s headquarters in Stockholm on 13 September at 14:00. To RSVP, please email by Friday, 9 September 2016.

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