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International IDEA launches report on democracy in Burkina Faso

Press Release: 

International IDEA launches report on democracy in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, 28 January 1998: After more than a year of consultations with experts from west Africa and other parts of the world, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), today launched an in-depth report on the state of democracy in Burkina Faso.

The report, Democracy in Burkina Faso, was written following extensive consultations with leading democratic actors in Burkina Faso and regional experts.

"The truth is," stresses Mr Bengt Säve-Söderbergh, Secretary-General of the International IDEA, "that democracy must come from below and must reflect the needs of the people of each individual country."

The report offers a comprehensive analysis of the political system in Burkina Faso, and identifies key stumbling-blocks to political development, including the monopoly of power by the majority party, the administration of the judicial system, the organization of elections, and the lack of a strong opposition. The report hopes to help facilitate a dialogue about the future democratic development in the country.

The report recommends change in six areas such as state reform, including decentralization of government authority; consolidation of the rule of law, particularly in the constitution and the administration of the judicial system; and expansion of the democratic culture in civil society, especially among women. The report also gives an analysis and makes recommendations about the electoral system.

"Even though the transition towards democracy is not yet completed, the process is going in the right direction. The fact that the authorities in Burkina Faso have invited International IDEA to carry out this program, demonstrates the good intentions of the government. The lessons learned by the Burkinabé could be shared with other countries in Africa," explains Säve-Söderbergh.

From 27 to 29 January, representatives of International IDEA, working closely with individuals from national institutions and civil organizations, will participate in a series of meetings with members of the parliament, the supreme court, civil society, political parties and international donor organizations working in the country. The mission from IDEA will present the conclusions of the report and begin a discussion about its recommendations. The Institute believes that this is an important year to begin this process, because the second presidential elections since the beginning of the democratic transition in 1991 will be held at the end of the year.

The report represents an important stage in International IDEA’s program in Burkina Faso. It was not written to dictate a fixed way forward, but will hopefully spark some new thinking about the democratic process in the country.

The Institute does not recommend any specific political agenda. The main goal is to stimulate the national dialogue, to analyse the problems and to suggest new possible solutions to consolidate the democratic process. The programme aims at strengthening democratization. A second goal is to help focus the international community on the process forward, and to bring attention to concrete initiatives taken by the Burkinabé themselves.

"The report of International IDEA wishes to deepen the debate on good governance, not only in Burkina Faso, but in the whole region," concludes Mr Adama Dieng, member of the Board of International IDEA, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists and one of the authors of the report.

This press release is also available in French.

International IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance) was founded in February 1995. The Institute’s overall objective is to promote and advance sustainable democracy world-wide and to improve and consolidate electoral processes. To date, Members are Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, India, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, the International Federation of Journalists, the International Press Institute, and Parliamentarians for Global Action. The Institute also has co-operative agreements with the International Commission of Jurists, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the United Nations Development Programme. Switzerland also contributes to the work of the Institute.



International IDEA
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