Political foundations play a crucial role in the process of building a democratic society and a political system based on pluralism, rule of law, respect for human rights and solidarity. They are involved in political education in its broadest sense; they are active in the development of policies and policy proposals in line with certain political values; and they have significant experience and a relatively positive track record in international development and foreign aid.
In that sense, the most important function of political foundations is to contribute to the internal democratization of political parties in order to operate in a transparent and inclusive way. Furthermore, political foundations contribute toward stabilizing democratic systems in transitional democracies by promoting and mediating political dialogue, as well as fill existing gaps in policy development within political parties. Most importantly, the work of political foundations may contribute to the efforts to get more voters to make political choices based on the rational assessment of alternatives, rather than on disinformation, ignorance and fear, or pressure by a network of dependencies.
This paper analyzes different models of organization for political foundations in developed democracies in Europe and critically evaluates their advantages and possible weaknesses in relation to the state of democratic development in the countries of the Western Balkans. Additionally, the authors provide an overview of the existing organizations in the countries of the Western Balkans and Slovenia that, although not all registered as political foundations, work in areas typically associated with political foundations and fulfill the functions attributed to political foundations.
Finally, the authors summarize the theoretical overview and empirical data of the research and offer concrete and effective policy recommendations for various stakeholders willing to promote and develop the concept of political foundations in the Western Balkans.
Aleksandar Lj. Spasov
The policy paper can be downloaded here.