Regional party networks and the limits of democratic norm diffusion in Southeast Asia Academic Article uri icon


  • Regional party networks are an important instrument for democracy promotion organizations intent on helping build democratic party structures. The main goals of these networks are usually capacity-building and the provision of communication channels, but the affiliation with international donors also turns these networks into contested forums for the diffusion of global norms and values. This article will illustrate that these norm diffusion processes are subject to significant constraints as transnational party networks are shaped by the pre-existing norms and electoral self-interests of their constituent members. The article uses a case study of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats to argue that the diffusion of Western democratic norms through regional party networks is a multidimensional process that can be successful in building small fraternities of committed norm recipients, but faces severe limitations when it comes to transmitting these norms further on into local party organizations.

publication date

  • 2017