Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German Political Foundation promoting good governance and economic development in the country, on Monday launched its 2007 report on political parties and their contribution towards the sustenance of democracy.
It is the third in series of KAS's democracy reports since the introduction of the project in 2005.
Earlier projects tackled the role of the media in the promotion of democracy as well as the rule of law in democratic governance.
This year's report assessed the contribution of political parties towards democratic development beyond periodic free and fair elections through interest articulation and aggregation with a focus on four political parties that have representations in Parliament.
Reviewing the topic titled: 'Parties and Democracy,' Prof. Kwame A. Ninsin of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana said, 'success in institutionalising new democracies require strong political parties that exhibit unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy, and practice them.'
He said 'political parties constitute a vital link between the society and the state,' adding 'democracy in the larger society must be embodied in and practiced by political parties to ensure its flourish.'
Prof. Ninsin noted that democracy is fragile in newly emerging countries that have adopted democracy because political parties are not institutionalised as instruments of self-determination.
'Political parties in emerging democracies have a very short history and are not rooted in society to enable the people to use them to achieve the purposes of democracy.'
He said political parties have become 'instruments by which the political class pursue their narrow interest, namely to secure power and accumulate inordinate wealth in disregard of the dire conditions of the people they supposedly represent'.
Klaus D. Loetzer, resident repre-sentative of KAS, said apart from Ghana the study was conducted in 15 countries drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East using similar indicators and questionnaires.
He said 'the report endeavours to contribute to the comparative analysis of selected building blocks of democracy' through profound research conducted by country experts from perspectives of democracy.
Leonora Kyerematen, Head of the National Governance Programme, who chaired the function called for the promotion of consensus building on what constitutes national interest and how it could be upheld regardless of political, ethnic and religious affiliation.