A significant step in the consolidation of Burundian democracy was taken on 4 February, when political parties signed an agreement for the establishment of a permanent dialogue forum.
Through the Permanent Forum for Political Parties, the NIMD and its local partner organisation the Burundi Leadership Training Programme (BLTP) will form a partnership with Burundi’s political parties, the Burundian government and the UN.
The Forum’s goal is to address the major deficiencies of the country’s democratic system and to come up with jointly supported solutions that strengthen multiparty democracy by and for political parties.
The NIMD and BLTP will first use their expertise and networks to help establish the structure and working methods of the Forum. At the same time they will organise a range of activities to help parties professionalise their organisations and prepare for the elections.
Aims of the Permanent Forum
Through training on manifesto writing and financial management, but also via election debates and regional exchanges, the Forum aims to combine the development of a common democratic agenda with the strengthening of Burundi’s main political actors.
As part of this process, the NIMD will in the second half of February 2010 invite trainers from both Mali and the Netherlands to Burundi. These trainers will assist political parties in producing their election manifestoes.
Secondly, the director of the Malian Centre for Multiparty Democracy will share his experience in setting up a dialogue platform with Burundi’s Permanent Forum, which will help guide it through the start-up phase.
The establishment of the Forum so close to Burundi’s five consecutive elections (which will run from May to September 2010) is an enormous accomplishment on the part of the parties. Maintaining the Forum operationally will be the next challenge over the coming months and years.