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Forum for Healthy Political Parties. (OAS)

Article excerpt

MORE THAN ONE hundred political party leaders, electoral authorities, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and others met in Vancouver, Canada, last December to discuss how to increase transparency and accountability in campaign financing.

Participants from twenty-four countries in the Americas looked at how political parties can fund increasingly expensive election campaigns while meeting high ethical standards. They examined case studies on campaign finance reforms carried out in Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The Second Meeting of the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties was the latest step in a broad OAS initiative to strengthen the political party as an institution, across the ideological spectrum.

In April 2001, at the Third Summit of the Americas, the presidents and prime ministers of thirty-four OAS member countries underscored the need for healthy political party systems. Later that year, the countries adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which affirms that the "strengthening of political parties and other political organizations is a priority for democracy."

In opening the Vancouver meeting, Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi cited a "troubling" survey by the polling firm Latinobarometro, which found that only 23 percent of Latin Americans placed "much" or "some" confidence in political parties. Einaudi blamed the trend partly on the failure of parties to produce new leaders and called for the enhanced participation of women in the political process, among other measures. …