Political parties are the centrepiece of political representation in democratic systems.

Regrettably, political corruption undermines this important role and generates distrust towards politicians, disengaging citizens from public decision-making processes. Organized crime is one of the most conspicuous sources of political corruption. These networks pour money into political parties and forge alliances with politicians and their intermediaries at the national and local levels.

This report provides insights into how multiparty democracy has occasionally shaped and extended the linkages between political parties, politically exposed persons and criminal activity. The analysis focuses on specific cases from Georgia, Mali and Mexico to illustrate these threats, as well as potential strategies for preventing and mitigating relationships between criminals and political actors. 


Publication date
22 September 2016
Catalina Uribe Burcher (editor), Ivan Briscoe, Diana Goff
Number of pages
Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael Institute)
978-91-7671-068-5 (Print)




1. Introduction

2. Organized crime, corruption networks and the exploitation of state weakness

3. Spaces of interaction between political parties and organized crime

4. Political parties: triggers for political–criminal influence

5. Case study: Georgia

6. Case study: Mali

7. Case study: Mexico

8. Conclusions and recommendations

References and further reading

About the editor and authors

About the organizations

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Protecting Politics: Deterring the Influence of Organized Crime on Political Parties

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