Parliamentary Elections: Transparency International Calls for a “Clean Bulgaria”

Written by on March 1, 2017 in Bulgaria - No comments

The international non-governmental organization Transparency International is looking at the latest political crisis in Bulgaria with worries. They are not the only ones to do so. An “election rollercoaster” is what they see, when they look back at the past four years, during which Bulgaria already had two major elections. The one on March 26th, 2017, is the third one.

Transparency International’s office in Sofia sees quite a few problems in Bulgarian politics, which are still unaddressed, including dirty money and a lack of anti-corruption policies. The NGO is also criticizing the fact that “nobody has a clear mandate to oversee and enforce recent parliamentary rules around ethical conduct”.

In response to citizen demands, Transparency International has come up with a list of 17 commitments. They are calling on all political parties in Bulgaria to adopt them. The organization, with headquarters in Berlin, said it will monitor progress on the commitments after the election and report findings to the public, in order to guard against empty campaign promises.

One of the commitments the NGO wants all parties to adapt is the willingness to support legislative changes to enable investigations into illegal financing of political parties. Also, they want an implementation of a standard anti-corruption policy for all public authorities and transparent appointments for public office.

Measures, which would counter conflict of interest is another commitment they want all parties to make, along with a policy which would protect whistleblowers and a strengthening of the Parliamentary Ethics Commission.

The parliamentary elections on March 26th, 2017 are shaky. One of the reasons is a huge chaos, which developed since the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on voting machines. All 12,000 polling stations in Bulgaria and abroad have to be equipped with at least one of them. The problem is that the Central Election Commission has only 500 voting machines. They will have to cut them into slices, in order to make it work.

By Imanuel Marcus

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