FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15, 2006

Political parties are the weakest link in many new democracies around the world—frequently beset with problems of self-interest, corruption, ideological incoherence, and narrow electoralism.  A large and ever-growing number of U.S., European, and multilateral assistance programs seek to help parties become effective prodemocratic actors.  But given the depth of the problems, is success possible?

Confronting the Weakest Link is a pathbreaking study of international aid for political parties.  Beginning with a penetrating analysis of party shortcomings in developing and postcommunist countries, Thomas Carothers draws on extensive field research to diagnose deficiencies in party aid, assess its overall impact, and offer practical ideas for doing better.  This broad ranging analysis, which spans Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, sheds invaluable light on a major element of the contemporary challenge of democracy-building, a subject now occupying center stage in the international policy arena.

"Confronting the Weakest Link is the first systematic, independent assessment of the burgeoning field of international aid to political parties. Carothers’ masterful, searching account is critical and sobering, yet also sympathetic and constructive."
—Larry Diamond, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Thomas Carothers is founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment. He is a leading authority on democracy promotion and democratization worldwide as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy. He is co-editor, with Marina Ottaway, of Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East (Carnegie Endowment).

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October 2006, 272 pp.
Paper: 0-87003-224-0, $$22.95
Cloth: 0-87003-225-9, $57.95

Press Contact: Trent Perrotto, +1 202/939-2372,