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The DIPD Board Approves New Project in Egypt

Together with a consortium of Egyptian and international partners, DIPD will be actively involved in the support of new and emerging parties in Egypt.

The January 25 revolution, the resignation of the President of more than 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, and recent amendments to the political party law have opened the floodgates to new parties in Egypt. Many of these are, however, struggling with their internal organisation and lack the capacity to campaign in the upcoming Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

Now, the Board of DIPD has approved a two-year project in Egypt, and the institute will engage in support of new and emerging parties and a democratic culture in the country. Read more

DANIDA Releases Annual Report

With the 2010 launch of a new strategy for Danish development assistance, support to aspiring democracies has become a key priority for Denmark. In its annual report, the Danish International Development Agency, Danida, highlights the establishment of DIPD as one of the main efforts to support democratization in the global south.

Read the Annual Report (in Danish)

“Danish development assistance is at the absolute top both financially and in terms of quality” the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Søren Pind, stresses in the introduction to the 2010 annual report from  Danida.

Danish development assistance for 2010 amounts to DKK 15,2 mia. or 0,9 percent of the GNI. Denmark is thereby among the five countries that comply with the UN goal of budgeting no less than 0,7 percent of GNI for development aid.

Denmark is, according to the Minister for Development Cooperation, not merely a frontrunner financially. “International analyses and most recently OECD’s development assistance committee (DAC) highlight the unique quality of our efforts” Søren Pind emphasizes with reference to the wide range of activities undertaken by Danida in 2010.

In May 2010, the Minister launched a new strategy for Denmark’s development cooperation entitled “Freedom from Poverty – Freedom to Change”. The strategy includes a commitment to strengthen efforts to develop free, democratic societies based on the rule of law, equal rights for all, open political processes and public participation, and an efficient and responsible public sector.

Activities in 2010 aimed at strengthening democracy, freedom and human rights include not only support of free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, good governance and respect for minority rights. The decision to establish DIPD is also emphasized as one of the key efforts to strengthen Danish democracy assistance.

Geographically, Africa remains top priority for Danish development assistance with Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique and Uganda as main recipients.

Download Strategy for Denmark’s Development Cooperation (2010) in English or Danish

Danish Support to Media in the Arab World

International Media Support (IMS) has received 33.5 million DKK to support the development of independent media and press freedom in the Middle East and North Africa over the next two years.

Social media played a vital role during the Arab spring as a forum to organize the pro-democratic rallies and voice political dissent. These developments present a window of opportunity to support press freedom and media developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

The allocation of 33.5 million DKK from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Media Cooperation Programme of the IMS therefore comes at a crucial time. Read more

Guatemala: Clean Polls, Dirty Politics

Violence, killings and unregulated campaign finance endanger political life ahead of the Guatemalan polls in September International Crisis Group warns in new report.

While electoral polls at the September elections may be perfectly clean, the political context in Guatemala is anything but. Violence directed at candidates and electoral staff and exorbitantly expensive campaigns threaten the political climate as the country approaches general elections the International Crisis Group concludes in a briefing released Thursday.

Candidates killed by Gunmen

The briefing titled “Guatemala’s Elections: Clean Polls, Dirty Politics”, examines the upcoming presidential, legislative and local elections in the context of political institutions and practices still severely haunted by the legacies of 36 years of civil war, which has left political life marked by violence, corruption and national agencies unable to provide the necessary protection.

“Deteriorated security, drug traffickers’ brutality and polarised politics leave candidates especially vulnerable to attacks”, Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director says as a comment to recent events, where several candidates, their families and electoral staff have been killed by unidentified gunmen.

“The national security agencies and the electoral authority, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral, should identify areas exposed to violence and bolster security measures there” Ciurlizza stresses.

Excessive spending on Campaigns

A more subtle risk to political life is, according to the Crisis Group, posed by exorbitantly expensive campaigns. Unregulated political finance has previously led to among the costliest (per capita) election campaigns on the continent – and for now, 2011 looks to be another extremely expensive year in terms of campaign spending.

 “Unrestrained money contributes to an exclusive political system that reasonably free voting every few years does little to hide, let alone reform”, says Crisis Group’s Research Director, Richard Atwood and argues: “Politicians and parties must fully reveal who fund them, and the Public Prosecutor’s office, electoral authorities and donors should press them to do so.”

Crisis Group therefore emphasizes the need for the Tribunal Supremo Electoral to monitor parties’ campaign spending and investigate their finances.

Salafi Party Enters Egyptian Politics

With the approval of the ultraconservative Salafi party, the Nour Party, Sunday, three parties with a reference to Islam have entered the political stage in Egypt. Post-revolutionary Egypt has drawn previously unrepresented and apolitical groups into the political fray.

Sunday, the Salafi political party, the Nour Party, was approved by the Political Parties’ Affairs Committee (PAC), and will as of Monday, 13 June, have the legal right to conduct political activities. Read more