|Despite raids on its offices in Egypt shortly before parliamentary voting, NDI proceeded with the final round of its international election mission that witnessed each phase of balloting for Egypt’sPeople’s Assembly.NDI said it was deeply troubled by the raids on its offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut, as well as those on Egyptian and other international organizations. All told, there were 17 raids on 10 organizations, including the International Republican Institute, Freedom House and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Armed Egyptian police confiscated equipment, documents and money, sealed the offices, and provided no warrant or explanation for their actions. Nearly a month after the raids, the confiscated materials have not been returned, there are ongoing interrogations and the situation remains uncertain despite efforts on many levels to resolve it.”NDI has been operating in Egypt since 2005 in an open and transparent manner, working to assist the efforts of political parties and civic organizations seeking to take part in their country’s evolving political process,” said NDI President Kenneth Wollack.
NDI said it was particularly concerned that the Egyptian authorities targeted local organizations, some of which were working on observation efforts for the country’s parliamentary elections. Some 400 Egyptian nongovernmental organizations are under investigation.
Since the raids, authorities have made numerous false and misleading allegations about NDI’s status and work in Egypt, and the Institute issued a statement providing an accurate account of its programs and efforts to register, which have been ongoing since 2005. The statement noted that NDI has maintained an open, transparent and constructive relationship with the government, sharing information about all major program activities for the last six years.
Part of NDI’s work was fielding three international missions that witnessed the Nov. 28, Dec. 14 and Jan. 3 rounds of elections of the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament. The NDI delegations included a total of 97 witnesses, with 12 long-term observers who were in the country for two and a half months.
The goal of the delegations, which each issued a report, was to provide an impartial assessment of the process and demonstrate the interest of the international community in strengthening democratic governance in Egypt.
Leading the first round delegation were Sergio Bitar, former minister and senator from Chile; Markus Meckel of Germany, former minister and member of the Bundestag; Mu Sochua, a member of parliament from Cambodia; and Les Campbell of Canada, NDI senior associate and director for the Middle East and North Africa. For the second round, the leaders were Robin Carnahan, secretary of state of Missouri; Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former minister of defense of Poland; and James Steinberg, former deputy U.S. secretary of state. Round three leaders were Genaro Arriagada, the former minister of the presidency in Chile; Audrey McLaughlin, former leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada; and Kenneth Wollack, president of NDI.
While noting some significant shortcomings in electoral procedures, the delegations said that three credible rounds of polling raised the prospect that Egypt’s new parliament, which was seated Jan. 23, reflects the will of the people.
|NDI, Democracy Activists Mourn Václav Havel
NDI mourns the passing of former Czech President Václav Havel, who died last month. “Havel leaves our world better for having been a part of it,” said NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright, a Czech-born friend of the playwright and political leader. She was joined at a memorial at the National Endowment for Democracy by political dissidents from Burma, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria and more. Read more»
Millions have gone to see the new film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The score, composed by Hans Zimmer, was heavily influenced by Roma musicians in eastern Slovakia. With NDI’s assistance, Zimmer visited Roma towns and settlements, learning more about their political situation and the discrimination they face. He collaborated with many of the musicians to include their music in the film. Read more»
Two years after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country is attempting to rebuild with the help of development proposals prepared by citizens. NDI has helped connect citizens and government officials to develop roadmaps addressing the economy, education, security and more. Read more»
The latest publication in the Institute’s series, Political Parties and Democracy in Theoretical and Practical Perspectives, explores the workings of parliamentary groups. It looks specifically at their rules and procedures, relationships with political parties and organization within legislatures. Read more»
NDI Staff Earn Recognition
NDI has always prided itself on its talented, dedicated and professional international staff.
Burkina Faso has awarded its highest national honor to Aminata Kassé, NDI senior resident director in the West African country. The National Order (l’Ordre National) was bestowed on Kassé in recognition of her contribution over the past seven years to the people of Burkina Faso, especially to the country’s women leaders and activists. Read more»
Forbes magazine has recognized NDI Program Officer Kathryn Peters as one of the “30 under 30” making their mark in the field of law and policy. Peters, who joined the Institute in September, was recognized for founding TurboVote, a web service that makes voting by mail simple and easy. Read more»
|New Public Opinion Research in Libya, Morocco, South Sudan
Most Libyans are eager to exercise their newfound political freedoms and participate in shaping their country’s future, but they feel disadvantaged by their lack of exposure to democratic practices and have concerns about security and their economy, according to new public opinion research by NDI. Read more»
In focus groups with young Moroccans in the lead-up to parliamentary elections, some participants expressed optimism about the future. But many described recent democratic reforms as superficial, saying they have yet to see tangible improvements in their everyday lives. Read more»
As the people of South Sudan work to build a new nation, NDI opinion research shows that they are optimistic about their country’s future but also concerned about the fundamental challenges it faces, such as security, development, tribalism and corruption. Read more»
Citizens Mix with Elected Representatives in Colombia, Mali, South Sudan, Georgia, Cambodia
Elected officials responding to the needs of their constituents form a pillar of any representative democracy.
In Colombia, citizen groups and political parties worked together to see a landmark anti-discrimination bill signed into law last month. Read more»
In Mali, where citizens are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their government, a new series of citizen forums aims to solve community problems and incorporate women as full partners in the political process. Read more»
In South Sudan, citizens brought their own chairs to standing-room-only constituency dialogues, the first opportunity for citizens of the world’s newest country to question their elected representatives. Read more»
In Georgia, a new television program, Your Parliament, features interviews with ruling party and opposition legislators to help citizens learn more about their elected representatives. Read more»
Land disputes, infrastructure development and corruption topped the list of Cambodians’ concerns when they met with lawmakers during a series of townhall-style meetings across the country. Read more»
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