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WHY PARLIAMENTS?

Democratically elected parliaments should represent the people, but sometimes parliaments are weakened by an executive power that dominates the legislative process and policy debate. The net result is often a closed policy-making and legislative process that is neither transparent nor inclusive. Moreover, weak parliaments do not hold the executive accountable, undermining the checks and balances that a robust democracy needs. In essence, weak parliaments cannot guarantee genuine political participation by citizens.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

DRI advocates for parliaments to play a significant role in a country’s policy-making process in line with international obligations (for details on obligations see page 15-17 of this report). DRI also advocates for constitutions and parliamentary rules of procedures to be transparent and inclusive, for example by granting significant rights to the opposition.

Typical activities include:

  • Work with parliaments to establish procedures for consultations and to hold hearings or multi-stakeholder forums to discuss issues of democratic governance with political parties, civil society, and the media.
  • In some cases DRI focuses on monitoring reform legislation by parliament, thereby enhancing the accountability of parliament to the public.
  • DRI works with parliaments/legislatures which are engaged in constitution-making.
  • DRI supports the development of a stronger methodology for support to parliaments.