Transparency through Awareness/Threats and Opportunities of EU Structural Funds I and II

During the first phase, the project focused on monitoring and analyzing the areas of distribution and use of funds, especially on areas related to institutional conflict of interest, influence of political representation on project selection, access to information, structure of institutions involved in the process and their relationships, selection and execution of projects, financial management, evaluation and monitoring. The first phase of the project concentrated on building local capacity to deal with the issue. The project was implemented in cooperation with six international chapters of Transparency International from new EU member states (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia).The second phase aimed at raising awareness on the transparency and implementation of the anti-corruption tools during the process of distribution of the funds to the public administration. It also focused on the role of media and their capacity in the area of SF monitoring. The target area was NUTS III – city of Prague.

Televised Municipal Debates

To support the democratic process and accountability in office, IASGAP performed all necessary research for municipal public debates between political parties one year after the elections to review promises made during the election campaign versus actual initiatives undertaken by winning candidates to fulfill these promises.

Monitoring the Use of Administrative Resources in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Election

TI Georgia monitored the use of administrative resources during the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The monitoring included:

a.interviews with the leaders of various political parties participating in the elections, representatives of Georgian and international NGOs involved in election monitoring, and state institutions involved in election administration;
b.analyzing the allocation of state funds during the pre-election period based on official documentation;
c.analyzing political advertising and coverage of political candidates through selected media outlets;
d.analyzing election legislation and the decisions of the Central Election Commission; and
e.observing the pre-election activities of the ruling party.
The misuse of administrative resources has been cited as a problem in Georgia in every election since 2003. After the presidential election in January 2008, TI Georgia has made specific recommendations about how to reduce the use of administrative resources during election campaigns. Unfortunately, despite the need and the advocacy work done by both domestic and international organizations on this issue, the Election Code was not modified to limit the use of administrative resources in advance of the parliamentary elections. Rather, legislation has been made more liberal instead of more restrictive. Public officials were still allowed to engage in pre-election campaigning activities, with few exceptions indicated in the law, and election candidates were granted the right to use material-technical resources funded from the state and local budgets as long as these resources are equally accessible for all of them.

They (should) work for you – Learn how to evaluate your local councilors

The project aims at creating a set of efficient monitoring tools for measuring local elected officials’ mandate performance in – between elections, during electoral periods and six months after elections – with the direct scope of empowering civil society to accurately scrutinize the local governance act and hold elected representatives accountable for their work.

Voter Education and Election Observation Mission in Kvemo Kartli for the Parliamentary Elections in spring 2008

On May 2008 TI Georgia conducted a monitoring of the polling and counting procedures in the region of Kvemo Kartli. The organization deployed its monitors to 110 polling stations in the following five election districts: Marneuli, Gardabani, Bolnisi, Dmanisi, and Tsalka, thus covering 40% of the polling stations in the region with 51% of voters in those five districts. The monitoring targeted precincts with the highest numbers of registered voters in the respective districts and ones where the majority of registered voters were ethnic minorities.
In 56 out of the 110 polling stations monitored by TI Georgia the monitors noted significant breaches of election legislation. The problems ranged from poor the qualifications of the Precinct Election Commission (PEC) members carouseling the voting, ballot stuffing, other duties. A total of 137 appeals have been compiled involving election violations in all 110 precincts.
Among the most frequently observed violations were: Precinct Election Commission members agitating voters in the polling station in favor of the ruling party, voters marking ballot papers outside polling booths, voters being allowed to vote without presenting ID cards or upon presenting other persons’ ID cards, proxy voting, inconsistent application of inking, Precinct Election Commission members following voters into polling booths, voters entering polling booths in groups of two and more, the presence of unauthorized persons during polling and counting procedures, and the correcting of summary protocols. In addition to these problems, the electoral process was marred by the refusal of Precinct Election Commissions to register TI Georgia’s and other election day monitors’ appeals.

Introduction of the methods for organizational excellence for raising the capacity of municipal governance

The project objective was the development and pilot check-up of an approach to introducing governance through organizational excellence (“Commitment to Excellence””) in the context of two Bulgarian municipalities. Its activities included: 1. establishing organization within the municipality for implementation of the project; 2. ensuring the active and informed participation in the training of all persons, related to the project implementation; 3. selection of a competent project manager and team members; 4. communication and, if needed, clarification of the ideas and concepts of Organizational Excellence among the organization’s employees; 5. self-evaluation, identification of strengths and fields to be improved, as well as the priority of individual tasks; 6. development, deployment and communication of an action plan; 7. commitment to the realization of constant improvements.”

Fair-Play Database: internet database monitoring relations and links bewteen the public officials and public finances (conflict of interest)

The database served also as a pre-elections tool focusing on political sponsorship and potential political corruption. The database proved to be demanding in terms of actualization (the original idea that citizens would contribute after being checked by the AWC did not work) and management. The project was effective at the level of top politicians (sponsorship of political parties, public officials at the Prague Town Hall, top politicians), at the regional and local level, there was a different millieu and different relations among the actors. The database is still online, covering the top politicans only due to limited capacities of the organisation.The journalists used the database as the entry point for finding new cases. The project template was copied by the city of Lanškroun that developed its own database of local representatives and public officials.

Partnership between the civil society and the administration – a guarantee for transparency, accountability and control

The project aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of the regional and local administrations by providing mechanisms for control over their activities through the establishment of a strategic partnership with the civil society. Some of the activities that the project foresee are: 1. development of information channels between the administration and the civil society through information campaigns, TV channels (24 programs in total), brochures, publications in the media etc.; 2. selection and implementation of best practices with regard to transparency, accessibility and accountability in the selected municipal administrations; 3. realization of seminars, round tables, workshops as well as educational seminars for experts from the municipal administrations with representatives from the civil society sector; 4. realization of a “day of the open doors”” in the selected administrations; 5. development of a guidance document regarding the opportunities that a partnership between the civil society and the administration can offer.”

Coalition for a Clean Parliament 2004

Alegeri locale şi generale

On the occasion of the legislative and presidential elections in November and December 2004, Romanian civil society organized itself for the first time into a broad coalition for integrity in politics: the Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP). Frustrated by the government’s lack of effectiveness in fighting large-scale corruption, civil society took matters into its own hands.

The CCP first determined the criteria that would make a candidate unfit for a clean parliament. These criteria were: 1) having repeatedly shifted from one political party to another in search of personal profit; 2) having been accused of corruption on the basis of published and verifiable evidence; 3) having been exposed as an agent of the Securitate (Ceauşescu’s former secret service); 4) being the owner of a private firm with important tax arrears to the state budget; 5) being unable to account for the discrepancy between one’s officially stated assets and one’s income; 6) turning a profit from conflicts of interest involving one’s public position. The second step was to discuss these criteria with the leadership of the political parties represented in the Parliament. The most important ones—the Social Democratic Party/Humanist Party of Romania coalition (PSD/PUR), the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA), and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR)—agreed with the criteria and the process that we had designed, and they publicly announced their support for the CCP’s campaign.

Our third step was to gather information about the candidates of these parties. We collected material published in the press over the years and researched the websites of various public authorities in charge of financial and commercial matters. Then we double-checked our information. Our fourth step was to draw up lists of those candidates who met one or more of the agreed-upon criteria for being unfit to hold a seat in the future Parliament. The resulting “black lists”” were then sent to the political parties, with the request that they re-examine each case and decide whether to withdraw the candidate in question.

The CCP also offered to analyze any cases where individual candidates contested its findings. Step five consisted of the withdrawal by the political parties of significant numbers of their initial candidates. Some of the candidates appealed to the CCP, which approved or rejected their appeals and adjusted its lists accordingly. Our last step was to release the final CCP black lists in the form of nearly two million flyers, distributed in most of the 41 counties of Romania.

Coalition partners:

  • Agentia de Monitorizare a Presei – Academia Catavencu
  • Fundatia Freedom House
  • Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent
  • Fundatia Dialog Social
  • Asociatia Pro Democratia
  • Alianta Civica
  • Asociatia pentru Apararea Drepturilor Omului in Romania – Comitetul Helsinki
  • Asociatia Revolutionarilor fara Privilegii
  • Liga Romana de Presa
  • Asociatia Studentilor la Facultatea de Stiinte Politice”

Coalition for a Clean Parliament – European Parliament Election 2007

Concept: fighting large-scale corruption by preventing the lack of information about the candidates for Members of Parliament; agreeing on criteria that make a candidate unfit for a clean Parliament with the leaders of the political parties; developing black-lists of the parties’ candidates in order to cleanse the candidate lists; making these lists public (website, flyers, press).
In the autumn of 2006 10 organizations decided to form the Coalition for a Clean Parliament – European elections. At the beginning of the year the formation of the coalition and the criteria used in the monitoring of the candidates were announced. The Coalition contacted all major political parties and negotiated the access to the preliminary list of candidates before the official announcement. The Coalition organized the network of journalists that collected and assembled the data. The preliminary findings have been discussed with all parties. Given the changes of the electoral system and the evolutions of the political scene in recent years, the organizations forming the Coalition for Clean Parliament have decided to resume the monitoring of the political representatives using a new methodology. Therefore, the coalition deemed that it was not sufficient for a candidate to merely meet a set of integrity requirements, but that dignitaries should also seek to serve public interest and respect the rule of law. Before the parliamentary elections of 2008, the Coalition designed a set of instruments that were better suited to capture this perspective:
– a Pact for the Rule of Law – politicians were presented with a document with several key points they should commit to respect during office;
– monitoring political migration, defined as changing formal party allegiance (more than twice);
– monitoring of the manner in which those in office between 2004 and 2008 had voted on a series of issues and laws considered by the Coalition as particularly important for the rule of law.
The results of these monitoring activities were published on the “Clean Romania” website, which was thus transformed into a resource site for anticorruption advocacy.

Corruption Perception Study 2002

The Corruption Perception Study in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a comprehensive attempt of the non-governmental sector to establish the basic diagnosis of this acute social problem, and to create an instrument for its continuous monitoring. The result of the project was the creation of a database for the whole country, containing detailed information on sectors, level of government, institutions etc., where the citizens gave their judgment of the extent to which the corruption is rooted in the society, and their perception of the ways to confront it most efficiently. Publishing of the results, particularly during the pre-election period 2002., was part of the strategy employed by the Transparency International BiH (TI BiH), to point to those in power at their failures so far and impose the new agenda for the general elections and the wish of the citizens of BiH for their country to start introducing the rule of law, what had been awaited in vain for seven years now, since the cease of the war activities.

Elections Corruption Perception Survey 2008

The main aim of the general project Election Corruption Perception Study 2008 is monitoring the level of corruption of the BiH social pillars and measurement of the governments’ progress in corruption combating. Periodical measurement of level and trends of corruption in BiH by implementing the Corruption Perception studies is one of the TI BiH’s major activities, and the project is of enormous relevance to BiH. TI BiH has published the Corruption Perception Studies in years 2002 and 2004, based on the surveys of the citizens’ opinion on the level of corruption at all governance levels, the level of corruption rooted in the society and the efficient ways of the anti-corruption campaign. The TI BiH Corruption Perception Study became an on-going monitoring instrument, a unique measurable and verifiable indicator of progress in combating corruption or the lack thereof. The size of the 2004 survey sample (1200 respondents) and a carefully developed methodology enabled TI-BiH to produce a meaningful and strong evidence of performance of all the institutions in the country as well as of the various geopolitical areas.
The Election Corruption Perception Studies gained the recognition as the most comprehensive corruption related survey in BiH ever. Besides numerous media appearances, downloads from the TI-BiH website and distributed circulation of 3000 copies of the Studies 2002 and 2004, both in local and English language, every single think-tank and institution dealing with the Balkans have requested some form of presentation of the findings from the Studies. Such presentations have been produced both in the country as well as in over a dozen of other countries at the international fora.

First Step in Europe

The goal of this project was to ensure the fairness of the elections for the European Parliament (EP) in Romania, scheduled for November 25th, 2007. It did so through a thorough monitoring of all the institutions involved in the campaign, including the political parties and official authorities handling the campaign. Moreover, it wished to bring an international and particularly European view on the development of the campaign and the elections.

Civil control over the work of court experts

The aim of the project was the elaboration of comprehensive analyses on the deficiencies in exercising control over the work of court experts. Another goal was the development, on the basis of the conducted analyses, of a set of ethical standards for the work of court experts as well as a model for their successful implementation within the practice of the courts. The implementation of the project included the elaboration of a legal analysis, aiming at identifying and investigating the gaps and loopholes in the Bulgarian legislation, regulating the work of court experts, as well as assessing the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms for control and liability of court experts. Furthermore, the project conducted a sociological survey, aiming at analyzing the tendencies in the existing public opinion, concerning the level of transparency in the work of court experts as well as the problems concerning their selection and control. Direct result of the implementation of the project was the elaboration and dissemination of the publication “Court Experts in Bulgaria – ethical standards and mechanisms for control over their activity”.

Election Law and Conflict of Interest Law – experiences and practice

The main goal of the project was the exchange of the experiences on good practice and lessons learned between Bosnia&Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia on the field of Election Law and Conflict of Interest Law in order to make changes in all three countries regarding this issue. The three regional meetings were organized gathering representatives from NGO sector and government institutions which resulted with the recommendations for improvement of both laws. These recommendations were delivered to the competent institutions.

Civil monitoring of the financing of the election campaign for the members of the European Parliament and the financing of the campaign for the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria

The main goals of the initiative were: 1. to promote the civil and political intolerance towards votes buying by focusing the public attention on problems emerging from this phenomenon; 2. to increase the transparency of the financing of the election campaign by promoting legislative changes in specific areas where deficiencies are identified; 3 to promote more effective civil society control over political financing through independent monitoring of the financing instruments of the election campaign.

Monitoring Anti-Corruption Law-Making

The project aimed at enabling the grantee to be physically present in parliamentary committees, track legislation and stop problems as they happen or before they happen. In particular – the new legislation under consideration was a draft Law on Political Parties, draft Law on Pre-election Agitation, amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest. A analyst was employed to carry out the following tasks:
• Analyze particular relevant provisions in the above draft laws;
• Monitor the preparation and adoption process of these drafts in the Government and Parliament;
• Prepare and submit concrete proposals to the Government and Parliament;
• Participate in person at the deliberations over the draft legislation;
• Publish articles and/or organize public debates on particular aspects of draft laws to raise public awareness and mobilize expert opinions on the issues in question.

Civil monitoring of the financing of the local election campaign in Bulgaria

The aim of the project was to realize a campaign against the wide spread practices of vote buying and the corruption in the election process at local level. In order to reach its target the project realized: 1. methodological training of local volunteers for monitoring the election process. 2. accumulation of data during the election process. 3. media monitoring regarding the election campaign 4. a sociological survey regarding the transparency and democracy of the election process 5. consultation, analyses and publication of the accumulated information from the realized activities. As a result the project developed a special Index for transparency in the financing of the local election campaign.

Civil society against buying of electoral votes: the effective civil society control as a factor for conducting fair and democratic elections

The primary goal of the project was to promote integrity in the election campaigns, to mobilize civil society organizations in order to exercise effective control and monitoring over the election campaigns in view of prevention of buying of electoral votes and to increase the level of integrity of the democratic process in general. The project objectives were: 1. to formulate adequate proposals for legislative amendments designed to restrict buying of electoral votes during the upcoming elections for MPs of the National Assembly and members of the European Parliament in 2009; 2. to mobilize the civil society structures for exerting an active public pressure on state institutions in order to adopt the civil society proposals for legislative amendments and to ensure fair democratic elections. 3. to advocate for civil and political intolerance towards the issue of buying of votes through focusing public attention on the importance of this phenomenon and organizing a civil society advocacy campaign for a fair and nonbiased electoral campaign. 4. to enhance the capacity of NGOs for exercising an effective monitoring over elections and to enhance the capacity of the state institutions for effective counteraction and restriction to the practices of vote buying.

Anti-corruption measures in Riga City Council – community participation in reducing corruption

Main aim: promote anti-corruption measures in the Riga municipality and provide for public participation. Delna attended the Riga City Council meeting of the Commission Against Corruption, prepared a draft municipal code of ethics, suggested reorganization plan for the Urban Development Department. The project also carried out a broader study of the corruption structural risks in the three departments of the Riga City Council – City Development Department, Welfare Department and the Property Department. A survey on civil servant’s views on anti-corruption measures was carried out. Before 2008 elections a public debate was organized were candidates were invited to present their plans to reduce corruption in Riga.

Political corruption: Challenges and mechanisms for counteraction

The goals of the project were: 1. development of a system for monitoring and evaluation of the political corruption in the country. 2. finding a public consensus over the costs for the society as a result of the political corruption. 3. accumulation of mechanisms for counteraction against political corruption and the development of a capacity at political party level in order to implement the necessary mechanisms. The project outputs were: comparative legal analyses of the problems concerning the financing of political parties; development of an Index measuring the transparency in the election campaigns; development of an educational methodology and the realization of training’s for the specific target groups.

How democratic are political parties of Latvia – procedure and criteria of nomination of election candidates in the municipal elections of 2009 in Riga and Jurmala

The project addressed the selection of candidates on party lists for the 2009 municipal elections in the 2 largest cities of Latvia. Interviews with 30 party members of different statuses were conducted on the practices of candidates’ selection and the statutes and bylaws of parties were analyzed. A public data base was compiled with information on the candidates proposed by major political parties by using public available information (media, news agencies). The data base was intended to draw public attention to cases where the lists included candidates with mixed reputation. The candidates were evaluated based on 6 criteria: charges of corruption, conflicts of interest, large tax debts to the state, repeated changes of political party, cash reserves of over 10 000 LVL or seemingly confusing financial transactions.