Political Parties, Business Groups, and Corruption in Developing Countries

By Vineeta Yadav | Go to book overview
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“It is important to clarify the policy-making role of legislature because the strength of a
nations legislature is often viewed as directly related to the strength of that nations com-
mitment to democratic procedures. The connection, though simplistic, is understandable
because the legislature, more than any other political institutions, stands at the confluence
between democratic theory and democratic practice.” Olson and Mezey (1991, xi-xii)

“…the potential of policy prescriptions to deliver better outcomes ultimately depends, to
an important extent, on the quality of the policymaking process through which policies are
discussed, approved, and implemented.” Spiller, Stein and Tommasi (2009, 2)

The above statements stress the importance of legislatures as institutions that establish the very nature of a country’s politics and wield the ability to improve the lives of its citizens through their policymaking prowess. Unfortunately, legislatures in most developing democracies have rarely reached these lofty yet essential goals. The typical experience in these countries is reflected instead in the following characterizations of legislative policymaking. A Ugandan MP lamented how parliamentarians were failing to represent their voters, “candidates are literally prisoners of the sponsoring individuals, interest groups or corporate organizations who they expect to do their bidding once they are in parliament… such politicians vote according to the wishes of their masters” (quoted in Bryan and Baer 2005,19). In another example, Romanian ex-Prime Minister Mugur Isarescu commented on the abuse of one the most important legislative policy powers of parliament by parliamentary parties in Romania in saying, “The situation of the budget is devastating. Practically, there are no budgets anymore. There are only exceptions, facilities, tax-exemptions—an overwhelming corruption that originates in the


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Political Parties, Business Groups, and Corruption in Developing Countries


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