Difference between revisions of "International Foundation for Election Systems"

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*[[Center for Transitional and Post-Conflict Governance]] – Organization belonging to IFES
*[[Council for a Community of Democracies]]
*[[Council for a Community of Democracies]]

Revision as of 12:26, 24 October 2008

International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) Founded in 1987, based in Washingon DC, it fosters "democratic initiatives", extending loans and grants to various "developing" countries, and it "provides "targeted technical assistance to strengthen transitional democracies". IFES notes: "the end of the Cold War in 1989 created opportunities… to respond to an overwhelming demand for technical non-partisan expertise in democracy and governance."

Summary of Activities

  1. Redesigning electoral laws
  2. Advising in electoral mechanics
  3. Setting up civic groups and organizing them for political purposes
  4. Pre-election surveys
  5. Overall political surveys
  6. Strategic advice to political groups
  7. Contracting to carry out NED projects
  8. Assisting journalists in coverage of elections[1]

From the website:

As one of the world's premier democracy and governance assistance organizations, IFES provides targeted technical assistance to strengthen transitional democracies. Founded in 1987 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, IFES has developed and implemented comprehensive, collaborative democracy solutions in more than 100 countries.[1]

Actions around the World

Election Guide

IFES has produced a website which enables the monitoring of elections, the election process, and information about parties. The website was paid for by "a generous grant" from USAID.

Contact and personnel

Website: www.electionguide.org

Handing out prizes

In October 2007, IFES awarded a prize to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza. Here is a private company, a contractor, handing out the "Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award". Usually it is governments who hand out lofty prizes, but in this case IFES is acting in a quasi-statal capacity.[2]

Pontificating about elections

Besides handing out prizes, many of IFES's operatives lecture on how elections should or should not be conducted. The emphasis is on the process or mechanics of elections and not on the nature of the political system. It wags fingers at the nature of the political scene in other countries, but often what it criticizes is standard practice in the United States. For example, Marcin Walecki, an IFES a political finance adviser, recently lectured in Thailand about the monitoring of campaign finance and urging popular participation in the oversight.[3] IFES, an American corporation, is suggesting that money-dominated elections yield corruption and vote rigging. However, the US is the most money-intensive election systems. It is a case of double standards.

IFES Principals and Staff

Board Memebers

IFES Senior Field Staff

IFES Field-Based Senior Staff
Bradley Austin – Senior Field Development Manager, East/South Africa Dickson Bailey – Project Director, IFES Albania and Kosovo (Elections) Dan Blessington – Chief of Party, Azerbaijan
Elizabeth Côté – Chief of Party, Guinea Almami Cyllah – Chief of Party, Liberia Peter Erben – Deputy Director and Senior Advisor, Center for Transitional and Post-Conflict Governance
Ched Flego – Chief of Party, Armenia Ben Goldsmith – Chief of Party, Egypt Beverly Hagerdon Thakur – Chief of Party, Philippines
Paul Harris – Chief of Party, Yemen Leone Hettenbergh – Chief of Party, Uganda Richard John – Chief of Party, Iraq
Edward Kibirige – Chief of Party, Burundi Charles Lasham – Chief of Party, Nigeria Dr. Cecile Marotte – Chief of Party (Victims of Violence), Haiti
David Mikosz – Chief of Party, Kyrgyz Republic Katherine Müller --Chief of Party, Tajikistan Theo Noel – Chief of Party, Kenya
Mauricio Claudio López-Rivera – Chief of Party, Timor Leste Carmina Sanchis-Ruescas – Chief of Party, DRC Hermann Thiel – Chief of Party, Lebanon
Rodolfo Ticao – Senior Program Manager, Iraq Marcin Walecki – Senior Political Finance Advisor, Center for Transitional and Post-Conflict Governance Peter Williams – Chief of Party, Afghanistan
Jennifer Wilson – Chief of Party, Kazakhstan


Other Consultants

Countries where IFES has been active

IFES states that it is active in 35 countries (inc. most of the former Soviet republics), but major activity occurred here:

Countries where IFES has major operations
Alabania Angola Azerbaijan
Dominican Republic East Timor Ethiopia
Georgia Guatemala Guinea
Guyana Haiti Honduras
Indonesia Iraq Kazakhstan
Nicaragua Nigeria Pakistan
Palestinian Territories Paraguay Philippines
Tajikistan Yemen  



Contact, References and Resources


1101 15th Street, N.W., Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202.828.8507, Telephone
202.452.0804, Fax
Website: www.ifes.org



  1. Arab journalists can apply for workshop on elections, International Journalists' Network, 17 January 2008
  2. IFES Honors OAS Secretary General Insulza With Its Annual Democracy Award, Media Newswire, October 2007. (Accessed: 9 October 2007)
  3. Achara Ashayagachat, Close monitoring by public urged, Bangkok Post, 17 November 2007.
  4. Navbahor Imamova, Uzbekistan to Hold Presidential Elections in December, VOA News, 7 November 2007