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 (see this study for an overview of key components of parliamentary strengthening) 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.