“Nearly everywhere in the world, legislatures are consistently the least popular branch of government — a fact that has been exacerbated in recent years by polarization and gridlock, and which is often underpinned by the sense that representatives are corrupt and ineffectual. Authoritarian powers — including adversaries such as China and Russia — have sought to exploit this vulnerability to entrench their own malign influence and undermine democratic institutions.

“As democracies around the world convene for the second Summit for Democracy this week, empowering legislatures to perform better and restore public trust is crucial to any long-term strategy to push back on authoritarianism and transnational kleptocracy.

“Combating corruption is key to this effort. Public opinion research shows trust in institutions declining across the world, and legislatures earn particularly low levels of confidence. For example, in OECD countries, about half of respondents think that high-level political officials would grant a favor in exchange for a well-paid private sector job. …”

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