Understanding and acting on the effects that violent conflict and the state management and mitigation of violence have over electoral processes, constitution-making processes, political parties and representation is fundamental when engaging in policy debates or programming in contexts of state fragility, and in post-conflict countries.
This initiative produces both knowledge and tools to target and prevent the effects of conflict.
Organized crime and threats to democratic politics
Over the past several decades transnational organized crime has increasingly been identified as an important international threat to democracy. Criminal networks form symbiotic alliances with politicians, political parties and state officials in order to safeguard their interests. At the same time, politicians have been keen to exploit the resources and power at the disposal of organized crime.
This nexus between illicit networks and political institutions and actors affects the state’s capacity to provide basic public services, and undermines the legitimacy of the state and democratic politics itself. Furthermore, the unprecedented openness in trade, finance, travel and communication has given organized crime business opportunities, making this a truly transnational phenomenon.
We have been conducting research and policy support on the nexus between illicit networks and democratic politics since 2009. In 2012, International IDEA initiated the Protecting Politics project. This project draws on fieldwork supported by our partnerships with local and international organizations and local experts. It aims at increasing comparative understanding of how illicit networks affect democratic processes.
Publications that have so far been produced have focused on three key regions: the Baltic States (2013), West Africa (2013), and Latin America (2014). We have published four reports on organized crime that focus on the nexus of organized crime with elections; political parties; local democracy; and service delivery and accountability. The reports include comparative case studies to demonstrate prevention and mitigation strategies in different regions of the world.