How to fight populism? ‘The Renewal of Representation’


“The best response to populism is not to attack it. Instead, efforts should be made to improve the quality, transparency and functioning of democratic institutions, which would, in turn, address the underlying drivers of populism. This should include investments in the renewal of representative mechanisms and institutions.”

That is the conclusion of The Renewal of Representation: A Proposed Global Agenda by Alberto Fernandez Gibaja.

The report draws on the findings of a conference organized by International IDEA, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy (NIMD) and the Research Centre for the Study of Parties and Democracy (REPRESENT) and distills a Proposed Global Agenda for the Renewal of Representation, based on the conference deliberations.

21st Forum 2000 Conference

Democracy assistance providers and the academic community need to collaborate more effectively on disseminating and showcasing the ‘evidence for the defense’ on how democracy benefits people, the report suggests:

Governments, civil society, political institutions (including parliaments and political parties) and democracy assistance providers (as well as the donors which support their work) need to make the case for democracy in clear and compelling terms. In defending democracy, these actors should be both honest and specific about the flaws in existing systems and show greater precision in describing the problems that democratic institutions currently confront, rather than subsuming everything under the label of populism.


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