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Hans Bruning blogs on the Partnership Days 2012 – Day 4
The rabbit once said to Alice (in Wonderland): if you want to stay where you are, you have to run very fast. That is one of the results of our Partnership Days. Political parties throughout the world have to innovate each day. They need strong leadership, organise their manifesto, stabilise their membership and offer training facilities to all potential candidates that can represent their party. This was one of the final conclusions of the Partnership Days 2012.
NIMD has changed over the years. It once started in Africa 11 years ago, expanding to partners in Latin America and Asia. Recently more newcomers joined. For example from Latin America, Honduras and Colombia are relatively new. Both countries suffer from ‘illicit networks’; real threats for political systems from outside. In political networks you are always looking inward to scan possible threats such as corruption, lawbreaking and tax evasion. A real illicit network can take over the party system and can be hostile just as a coup d’état can be.
Newcomers from Tunisia and Egypt had their own input. In general these are countries without much record on democracy. Countries that were colonised, had to suffer from dictators and have had a specific religious domination. It requires new debates on what democracy really is and how newcomers can act and relate to the ‘old’ ones. It makes the work even more interesting. New questions, challenges and the joint wish to deepen democracy arise from these new partners in our network.
Dialogue is at the heart of NIMD’s work with all its partners. I found it impressive to hear from representatives from Guatemala and Zimbabwe that they remained in dialogue even under poor circumstances. These cases can give hope to those working in countries with better conditions.
We finally concluded to work on a renewed and innovated NIMD over the next years. From a northern, donor perspective to a real shared concept. An international network of multiparty centres for democracy that will work together on an equal basis and share their own qualities.
Now back to the daily work, keeping these conclusions and reflections in mind.