The Power of Parties, Money & Influence

BUILDING BLOCKS GOES TO PRAGUE

On Monday June 19th, 2023, between 13.00 and 18.00 am, at the Vaclav Havel Library (Ostrovní 129/13, 110 00 Nové Město) the Democracy & Culture Foundation in collaboration with the Sekyra Foundation, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung conducted a five-hour citizens’ driven consultation facilitated by the Atlas orgnaization on the issue of political parties, money and influence. Local citizens were asked to debate the issue of information and come up with policy suggestions that may have either a Czechia-oriented or a universal application that, when implemented, will contribute to the strengthening of the functioning of Liberal Democracy. The consultation was conducted in Czech.

The consultation is part of the “Re-Imagining the Building Blocks of Democracy”, a 3-year international project, already in its 2d year of implementation which runs in 10 cities across the world (both the Global North and the Global South) and aims through a combination of experts’ roundtables and citizens’ consultations to identify, publicize and push for implementation specific policy proposals that would help Liberal Democracy meet the challenges of our times. The proposals concentrate on five main issues (building blocks) namely people, parties-money & influence, voting, information & disinformation and the balance between legislative and executive power. 

Some of the issues that were debated during the consultation were the following: 

In today’s interconnected world, Parties & Money have become interconnected with Power & Influence. Simultaneously, the centers of “power& influence” have shifted, with technology and innovation as drivers in this shift. 

  • Which are the primary power yielders and influencers in a democratic political system? Which are these new centers, and which is their importance. The ways used to exercise “power & influence” through money.
  • To what extent has this development altered the traditional “power & influence” of political parties? How parties exercise it, how have they adapted. What, if any, the “cost” in terms of democracy.
  • Have the centers of “power & influence” within parties shifted? Why, how and which is the extent of this development. The case to redress the balance in terms of enhancing democracy and counterbalance in terms of efficiency. 
  • Have these developments increased or reduced the relation between citizens and parties? Effects on representation—qua parties representing citizens. 
  • Is there a need to address party reform? Ways to redesign party structure and to re-balance the different centers of “power & influence 
  • What is the importance and what are the dangers of reaching out and of appeasing grass roots organizations and of launching an “open party”?

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