Guide on Parliament and Democracy
The Guide:
Online version
Also in this section:
Setting standards and guidelines
Strengthening representative institutions
Promoting inclusive parliaments
Promoting and defending human rights
Partnership between men and women
Promoting knowledge of parliaments
International Day of Democracy
Global Parliamentary Report
Key documents

    HOME -> PROMOTING DEMOCRACY -> GUIDE Search button    

Parliament and democracy in the twenty-first century: A guide to good practice
What is the parliamentary contribution to democracy? What makes a parliament or legislature itself democratic? How might it become more so?

The Guide:
red cubeExecutive Summary
red cubeRead the Guide online
red cubeDownload (PDF 1.2Mb)
red cubeOrder a copy
red cubeQuestions and Comments
Parliament and democracy in the twenty-first century provides a comprehensive and systematic account of the central role that parliament plays in a democracy. It explains what it means for a parliament to be truly representative, transparent, accessible, accountable and effective in its many functions. The Guide provides examples to good practice contributed by parliaments from every region of the world, that illustrate how purely abstract ideas of democracy become grounded in real-life parliamentary practices.

These examples show that parliaments are working hard:
red cubeto be more inclusive in their composition and manner of working, especially in relation to women and minority and marginal communities;
red cubeto be more effective public communicators, through opening more of their work to the media, and through the development of their own websites and broadcasting channels;
red cubeto experiment with new ways of engaging with the public, including civil society, and enabling them to contribute to the legislative process;
red cubeto recover public confidence in the integrity of parliamentarians, through enforceable codes of conduct and reforms in party funding;
red cubeto streamline the legislative process without limiting the proper scrutiny of bills;
red cubeto exercise more effective oversight of the executive, including in the increasingly important field of international policy;
red cubeto be more active in transnational collaboration, so as to provide a more effective parliamentary component in regional and international organizations, and in the resolution of violent conflicts.

The many examples of democratic practice given in the Guide are not intended to skate over problems or to minimise the challenges which all parliaments currently face; nor to understate the difficulties of realizing a genuine democracy in practice. What they can do is provide clear evidence that democratic change is possible, and offer some very practical illustrations of how it might be brought about. In this way, the Guide seeks to make its own contribution to realizing a more securely democratic future.