International Foundation for Election Systems

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The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) was founded in 1987[1] and is based in Washington, 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[2]

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


Handing out prizes

In October 2007, IFES awarded the "Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award" to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza.[3]

Lecturing on how elections should be conducted

Besides handing out prizes, many of IFES's operatives lecture on how elections should be conducted. The emphasis is on the process or mechanics of elections and not on the nature of the political system.[4] IFES, an American corporation, is suggesting that money-dominated elections yield corruption and vote rigging. However, the US has a money-intensive election system - raising questions 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 has assisted more than 100 countries around the world.[6]

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


  1. About IFES, IFES website, accessed 6 Apr 2010
  2. Arab journalists can apply for workshop on elections, International Journalists' Network, 17 January 2008
  3. IFES Honors OAS Secretary General Insulza With Its Annual Democracy Award, Media Newswire, October 2007. (Accessed: 9 October 2007)
  4. Achara Ashayagachat, Close monitoring by public urged, Bangkok Post, 17 November 2007.
  5. Navbahor Imamova, Uzbekistan to Hold Presidential Elections in December, VOA News, 7 November 2007
  6. FAQs, IFES website, accessed 6 Apr 2010