P4P Medium Grant
“Public engagement for strengthening parliamentary representation and deepening democracy”
Defferew Kebebe (PI), Challa Amdissa (Co-I), Aklilu Wubet (Co-I)
Public engagement is said to be essential to healthy democracy, as it ensures greater participation, increases public understanding of Parliament and its work, broadens the range of voices heard by Parliament, and potentially enhances legitimacy and trust. As trust in politics has fallen in representative democracy, public engagement has become a standard theme of modern democracy and a central activity for parliament (Leston-Bandeira, 2016). Low levels of interest in Parliament have been attributed to distrust and disenchantment with the wider political and governmental processes. Inclusive public engagement is considered critical to strengthening representative democracy. This project explores precisely how inclusive parliamentary public engagement can strengthen representative democracy in the Ethiopian context, and the mechanisms through which trust can be repaired and built anew, including improved engagement with marginalised ethnic and gender groups. The project thus contributes to improved understanding of the relationship between Parliament and people in Ethiopia, as well as setting out a charter of desirable and realistic changes in the Ethiopian political landscape.