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Conference on the use of money in politics and effects on people’s representation - New Delhi, India, 15-16 December 2015 

December 01, 2015

Many Asian countries are experiencing a commercialization of politics which translates into a sense of rising overall costs for campaigning. State funding is often marginal (or even non-existent) and candidates without sufficient resources at their disposal find it hard to compete, since their parties often do not finance their candidates’ campaigns.

As a consequence, private donations—often from corporations or wealthy individuals—play an important role in financing political stakeholders. The direction of public policies and governance may therefore move away from the economic and social well-being of the many to the benefit of the few, which ultimately affects sustainable economic growth. Today there is, however, also an increased awareness in the region of the threats posed by the influence of big business and the commercialization of politics, and there are strong forces within Asian societies demanding reforms.

With this in mind International IDEA partnering with the International Indian Institute for Democracy and Electoral Management (IIIDEM), at the Election Commission of India, will organize a regional conference on the use of money in politics and the effects on people’s representation. Taking place in New Delhi on 15-16 December the conference aims to stimulate and encourage political finance reforms in the region through identifying the main challenges, proposing ways of tackling them and exchanging valuable country experiences.

The conference is part of a series of events on the topic Money in Politics which International IDEA has organized around the world with the aim to stimulate the discussions on money in politics and convert these discussions into guidelines and recommendations for reform.

The topics to be discussed at the conference include: How to reduce the cost of electoral politics; how to improve transparency on funding for elections and expenditure and is there sufficient transparency to have a clear picture of the funds raised by political parties and candidates; and the influence of the wealthy few and its effects in representing the people.

Participants at the conference will also consider adopting a Draft Declaration of Principles for Political Finance Regulation in South Asia, which will serve as guidance for law makers and others in developing legal frameworks for political finance in the region.

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