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Political Parties in Closing Space: How Do Parties Build Resilience and How Can International Assistance Help?  


Closing space is a growing global trend. DRG practitioners and policymakers need to understand how political parties – as key actors of democratic resurgence – can be effectively supported. Building on CEPPS/IRI’s current Technical Leadership Award (the Closing Space Barometer), which studies the predictive factors and tactics of closing space, this project will investigate how parties maintain operation- al activity in closing space, including very early stages of closing space, and how international assistance can support these efforts. Many studies of democracy assistance in closing space focus on civil society while party assessment tools and guidance notes are rarely tailored to closing space environments. Practitioners need to understand how successful parties adapt in closing space, what are the conditions under which their resilience strategies fail or succeed, and how international assistance can support these efforts. If DRG practitioners were informed of lessons learned on the failures and successes of party strategies in closing space, then they could design more effective interventions that build party resilience.

  • CEPPS/IRI will develop measurement indices for party resilience based on the six core functions of political parties by reviewing past CEPPS/IRI party programming reports, existing assessment approaches within and across CEPPS partner institutes, and academic research
  • CEPPS/IRI will apply this framework to 2-3 political parties in 3-5 closing space countries across multiple regions using desk research and fieldwork.


  • What challenges do parties face in closing space?
  • How do parties become resilient (operate effectively) in closing space?
  • What are the characteristics of parties and party systems that enhance resilience in closing space?
  • How can international assistance better support political party resiliency in closing space?
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