Throughout the world today, politics has become an expensive affair, to the extent that money is now among the greatest threats to democracy. In essence, the greater the influence of money on politics, the less influence the average citizen has.
Commercialized and expensive electoral campaigns are more prevalent than ever. Money determines the ability of candidates to compete in—and sometimes even win—an election. In many countries there is a pressing need to reduce the level of campaign spending and the influence of a few large donors.
For more than 15 years, International IDEA has produced publications and databases, and advised governments and politicians on the design of their political finance systems. International IDEA’s 2014 publication Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: A Handbook on Political Finance indicates that the greatest hurdles to overcoming the challenges associated with money and politics are weak implementation and enforcement of existing regulations and a lack of political will to tackle the main problems related to political finance.
This Policy Brief summarizes International IDEA’s work to date in this field, and offers recommendations to curb the negative influence of money on today’s democratic politics.