Cost of Politics

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Cost of Politics

In most countries, the monetisation of the political process has made the cost of politics so high that many are excluded from the decision-making process. High costs have also encouraged corruptive practices and undermined the capacities of regulatory regimes that regulate the funding of political parties and candidates running for public office.

WFD's research seeks to characterise the concept of “the cost of politics” by analysing the critical issues that underpin it and identifying solutions and best practices with the express goal of developing strategic frameworks to tackle the issue and mitigate its effects.
A series of colorful notes from many different countries
July 23rd, 2021

WFD has teamed up with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) to launch a new website to host our research on the cost of running for and staying in elected office in different countries around the world.   What is the cost of politics?  Quite simply, the cost of politics is how much it costs to run […]

October 29th, 2020

Many Ugandans – particularly women and young people – are excluded from entering and participating in politics because they cannot afford it.

October 28th, 2020

Since independence in 1965, The Gambia has held periodic multi-party elections. But it had never registered an electoral turnover of power until December 2016 when independent presidential aspirant Adama Barrow, backed by seven opposition political parties, defeated the incumbent, Yahya Jammeh. Following the defeat of Jammeh – whose 22-year dictatorship was characterised by attacks on […]

September 05th, 2020

Politics on the island of Mauritius is considered a national sport, one which generates both passion and excitement among the population. However, much of what takes place remains behind closed doors or within private spheres. This culture of secrecy is most tangible when it comes to what is termed as ‘money politics’ – the undue […]

July 01st, 2020

Members of Parliament (MPs) in Kenya are amongst the highest paid in the world relative to the size of the economy. Parliamentary seats are among the most sought-after positions in society, bringing the holder wealth and social standing. In recent years, there has been an increasing trend whereby those in lucrative senior private sector positions […]

The cover of a research paper about the cost of politics in Malawi
November 26th, 2019

A recent survey by WFD, Michigan State University (United States), Aarhus University (Denmark) and the Institute for Policy Interaction (Malawi) studied the costs of seeking and holding parliamentary office in Malawi.

September 05th, 2017

From 31 January to 1 February 2017, Westminster Foundation for Democracy hosted 66 experts, academics and politicians from four countries in West Africa –Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal –for WFD’s firstRegional Cost of Politics Conference. Together they addressed a major challenge in the region: how to stem the rising costs of engaging in politics […]

August 26th, 2017

This report aims to begin the process of examining issues around the cost of politics- with a view to identifying appropriate policy and other responses that both national authorities and civil society groups, and the donor community, can consider. WFD has conducted research in Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Nigeria, Uganda and Ukraine, examining the costs to […]

April 05th, 2017

In Senegal, parliamentary candidates are facing increasing costs linked to their investiture, their election and their legislature. Senegal has had a long history of multi-party elections. Except for the period from 1963 to 1976 when the country experienced a single-party system, elections have always been hotly contested since independence, and even during the colonial period beforehand.  […]

February 28th, 2017

Sierra Leone has been making steady progress in consolidating democracy since emerging from a decade long civil war that spanned the 1990s. Four violence-free elections have been held since 1996 with a peaceful transfer of power starting in 2007. However,  significant challenges that remain. Fifteen years after the end of the civil war, the country […]

November 05th, 2016

Money is crucial for political parties to implement activities during and in-between elections. In addition to other factors, candidates require funds for effective campaigns, which contribute to possible electoral victory. However, whether in established or new democracies, unregulated use of money, private or public, for politics, is capable of reversing the ethics, practices and spirit […]

September 05th, 2016

Since returning to democratic governance over two decades ago, competitive elections have been salient features of Ghana’s multi-party politics. Regular elections between competing political parties and candidates have been the dominant method of choosing representatives to the legislature and composing the government. Candidates seeking election in their constituencies have to undertake rigorous campaigns to mobilise […]

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