IDEA & NIMD present an ‘’Interparty Dialogue Training Module’’

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Interparty Dialogue Module

Political parties are fundamental pillars of democracy. They represent different political interests, aggregate divergent opinions to generate alternative policy options, and are the main ‘breeding grounds’ for parliaments and senior members of the executive.

Competitive political processes such as elections are crucial to any democracy; equally so however is political cooperation between political parties so that they are able to dialogue and reach consensus on sometimes complex socio-political issues facing citizens and policy-makers. This is true in mature as in young democracies. This is even more important in those young democracies experiencing or recovering from many years of deep-rooted socio-political conflicts.

Strengthening, repairing or initiating socio-political relationships, promoting and nurturing a culture of political tolerance, underpin the concept of interparty dialogue (or otherwise referred to as political party dialogue). For an interparty dialogue process to succeed/be effective, it needs to adhere to certain principles, values and procedures. The participants also need to have/adopt certain behavioral attributes that are essential for dialogue. It is also important that each of the political parties in an interparty dialogue process has well-functioning intraparty dialogue and communication, because internal coherence within individual parties participating in an intraparty dialogue process is an important building block to the success of interparty dialogue.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) are in the final stages of developing an ‘’Interparty Dialogue Training Module’’. It has so far been piloted in Kenya and Nepal, with representatives of major political parties in these countries participating. The feedback is overwhelmingly positive. This development of this Module was inspired by series of discussions co-organized by International IDEA, NIMD and the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights during 2013-2014, following a joint publication entitled: ‘’Political Party Dialogue: A Facilitator’s Guide’’ in Mid 2013. Discussions with politicians, dialogue facilitators and policy-makers in different regions and countries thereafter aimed to present the findings from a study of interparty dialogue experiences from some 25 countries globally. A number of observations and recommendations emerged from these consultations, one of them was the need to build/strengthen political parties and politicians’ dialogue skills- because it was obvious that political will was not enough for interparty dialogues to succeed if the participants or dialogue facilitators did not have required skills or behavioral attitudes; or if the interparty dialogue processes did not respect essential principles and procedures.

This Module aims to equip political party agents (political party leaders, parliamentarians or other key party cadres) with knowledge of such important principles, processes and attitudes that are necessary if interparty dialogues in their own countries were to succeed. The Module is important for formal/established interparty dialogue platforms, as much as for ad hoc/issue-based interparty dialogues (such as on constitution-making or other important legislative processes- e.g on electoral or political party laws, peace-building related dialogues, etc…). 

 

 

 

For further information about International IDEA and NIMD work on this theme, please go to their respective websites (www.idea.int and www.nimd.org )