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By mid-2016, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy will have parliamentary strengthening programmes in about 22 countries and political party programmes in around 40 countries. We have a track record in improving policy, increasing citizen participation, promoting accountability, and bettering representation. But we don’t have a monopoly of knowledge on what works best.

This is why WFD is looking to contribute to public knowledge about effective democracy-strengthening, making the details of our work available to researchers, and funding a post-doctorate research fellow at Oxford University who will take this work forward throughout 2016. But there’s more to it than that. We want others to contribute too.
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Bring Back Our Girls: unbowed, unmoved and unperturbed

The abduction of 276 Chibok girls in 2014 shocked the world. But it gave birth to a movement that heralded a new kind of advocacy in Nigeria.

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Message discipline propelled Trump to victory

Trump's slogan 'Make America Great Again' was the key to his victory. Amidst information overload, message discipline triumphs.

From countering to preventing violent extremism

Fighting extremism isn’t just about military and intelligence solutions. What strategies should governments and civil society groups pursue?

Bring Back Our Girls: unbowed, unmoved and unperturbed

The abduction of 276 Chibok girls in 2014 shocked the world. But it gave birth to a movement that heralded a new kind of advocacy in Nigeria.

Observing the elections of the future

How will changes in technology impact on the ability of election observers to monitor the democratic process?

Cash for Votes: political legitimacy in Nigeria

Corruption runs deep in Nigeria - among parties, candidates and voters. What can be done to develop a democracy free of bribery?

Redressing the UN's gender gap: how do the SG contenders compare?

Following an informal vote held at the UN in New York today, the UN Security Council will vote by acclamation tomorrow to choose Portugal’s António Guterres as the next UN Secretary-General. 

'Disciplined Democracy' – Lessons for Cuba from Myanmar

Myanmar’s recent transition to ‘disciplined democracy’ holds valuable lessons for Cuba’s democracy activists and civil society.

Realising their potential: how women became leaders in rural China

A grassroots programme in China has successfully trained young women to run in local elections, and dismantled negative perceptions and discriminatory rules that hindered their political participation.

Why we need women leaders – and how we can get them there

Even now, in 2016, we mustn’t be complacent or naïve in thinking that the argument is won.

Are women the key to peace in Myanmar's 69-year war?

Women in Myanmar are not only the victims of war -- they can be smart negotiators and understand the conflict just as well as men. Why have their voices been excluded from the peace process for so long?

Democracy after Brexit: We are at a 'point of decision'

After the Brexit vote, many are questioning the UK's model of democracy. openDemocracy asked Professor Paul Cartledge, Cambridge University historian and author of Democracy: A Life, to put the system in context.

Is it enough to give women political power?

Women have been trailblazers in Africa, but who knows about it? We must recognise that storytelling is just as important a weapon in the fight for gender parity as political representation.

Iceland: portrait of the pirate as a young politician

Halldór Auðar Svansson, 34, is the first Pirate Party member to be part of a majority coalition, in Reykjavik. He talks about the Pirate Party movement, e-democracy and the necessary generational shift among professional politicians. 

Rebuilding democracy in Iceland: an interview with Birgitta Jonsdottir

In the first of a series of interviews by Phil England examining the situation in Iceland and the possible relevance of developments there to the UK, Phil talks to Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

Westminster Foundation for Democracy guest week: Gender and political progress

Are quotas for female African leaders enough? An interview with Icelandic Pirate Party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir. A call to action for British women after Brexit. Coming up in our week focused on gender and political progress.

To overcome planetary challenges, we must establish a world parliament

Only a world parliament can provide the democratic legitimacy and the planetary perspective required for developing global laws.

Rules of the game: negotiating obstacles in the 'closing space' of parliamentary strengthening

Development Alternatives Incorporated, like all organisations engaged in parliamentary strengthening work, is selective about where it chooses to operate. How does it assess  and surmount  potential obstacles?

Is Europe's old order too big to fail?

Are the two major party blocs that have dominated European politics since the immediate post-WWII period too big to fail? The evidence suggests not — so what are they going to do about it?

Gifts, cash and alienation: How political favours can lead to conflict

The alleged humiliation of a Hindu teacher by a politician in Bangladesh over claims he insulted Islam sparked a national outcry — but the culture of political patronage that sparked the incident is much more sinister. 

In Zambia’s contentious election, the EU finds a new challenge

Zambia can be an inspirational example for a region in democratic distress. But the opposite is also true. Will the EU help?

Torture was once 'normal' in Georgia's prisons — this is how they 'effectively abolished' it

Georgia's prisons used to be dirty and dangerousPrisoners recounted beatings and NGOs reported institutionalised torture. But since 2012, there has been an amazing turnaround.

'Hollow' states: the presidents re-writing the rules to stay in power

Should he stay or should he go? When it comes to the president, it's the subject of heated debate in Burundi, Congo, DR Congo and Rwanda.

From yurt-dwellers to bankers, Mongolians worn out by 'corrupt' politics

Since its inception, Mongolia's parliamentary democracy has struggled with a legacy of corruption and economic misfortune -- and the electorate is now hungry for change. 

Success in parliamentary strengthening: What does it mean?

We must not lose sight of the virtues of promoting the development of strong parliaments, independent of issues deemed important by donors.

Boycott, conflict and change: Can Venezuela's president be unseated peacefully?

Venezuelans want to resolve the 'dangerous' crisis in their country in a peaceful, democratic, constitutional and electoral manner. Will President Maduro's regime continue to boycott that possibility? Español

How Somaliland made its government work for the people

Parliamentary strengthening in Somaliland transformed its legislature from a 'rubber stamp' for the executive to a transparent law-making group that incorporates citizen input into decision making.

Getting to Denmark: how hidden money corrupts Danish politics

It is high time to wake up to the reality that Denmark is the only remaining country in the Nordics, and virtually all of Europe, with hardly any laws to ban the crippling influence of money on politics.

The rise and fall of Turkey's progressive opposition

Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party, the HDP, roared into parliament on the back of a rainbow coalition of alienated progressives and minorities. Now, armed conflict is pulling it back into the messy tangle of Kurdish politics.

Reducing poverty is not just about income, it's giving people a voice

The number one objective of the global Sustainable Development Goals is to alleviate absolute poverty by 2030. The commitments in these goals hold governments to account, helping people to feel more empowered.

Does calling far-right parties 'populist' legitimise them?

Far-right politician Norbert Hofer just missed being elected Austria's new president by a whisker. Is it time to reflect on how European society is implicitly accepting nationalist extremism?

Political parties are motors of democracy. We must help them with a diversity of approaches

Shaping a political culture of peaceful debate and respect for the opposition is key to strengthening democracies. How can we work better with parties in parliament to do that?

Can Poland’s opposition mount an effective challenge?

The divided opposition will struggle to mount such a challenge unless it can also address Poles’ broader concerns, recognising that they do not simply want a return to the pre-election status quo.

Donald Trump to Viktor Orbán: What's the appeal of ‘respectable extremists’?

Their policies would have been ‘toxic’ a few years ago, so what is it about these provocative politicians that’s stirring up voters?

Fighting corruption: What should political parties do?

What can parliaments and political parties do to fight the abuse of power? openDemocracy asked an anti-corruption campaigner, a former ambassador and a youth activist. 

Why the political crisis in Brazil isn’t a coup

A suspended president, an impeachment campaign and a corruption scandal reaching into the heart of power: Brazil's government may be in turmoil but, crucially, it is still ruled by the law.

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