The last few years have been a period of ever-more intense civic activism at SAR, aimed to strengthen the accountability of the government and the political class in Romania. In 2004, it took the form of an energetic and highly visible Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP) initiated by SAR and other eleven Romanian civil society organizations. The CCP arguably played a major role in influencing the local electoral campaigns in June 2004 and the campaigns for the November 2004 parliamentary elections, in the sense that it put the personal accountability and professionalism of the candidates at the top of the public discussion agenda. In January 2005 it became the Coalition for a Clean Government (CCG –contracoruptie.ong.ro).
This is an ongoing effort pursued by SAR under many forms. We sometimes incorporate such components in our regular programs, but often simply take direct action when the opportunity arises and contribute our time and expertise by advising public institutions on policy or regulatory reforms; we mobilize public support in favor of change; and work with the media to promote the ideas of transparency, accountability and good governance.
• Since January 2005, we have been permanently involved with Justice Ministry staff to help draft the new Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan, and restructure the institutional framework necessary to implement these actions. The first stage of this effort was pursued in the first half of 2005, under the Freedom House Inc. banner. At the request of the European Council, the organization undertook an in-depth audit on the impact of the Romanian government’s anticorruption strategy. We expect this activity will continue until 2007; the exact timing and details depend on the strategy and calendar adopted by the government.
• Since 2004, we provided expertise directly to the Ministry of Justice for creating proper integrity rules for dignitaries and civil servants. SAR offered a draft questionnaire for assets and interests disclosure adopted by the government in 2005, and is currently working on the implementation of the enforcing mechanism. We expect this effort to be completed by the end of the year.
• Beginning with 2005, SAR initiated an advocacy campaign to persuade the two chambers of the Parliament to change their internal regulations, in order to become more transparent and effective. The main push will take place during the 2005-2006 legislature. More precisely, we will press for making the parliamentary committees’ meetings more open to the public, for institutionalizing the practice of public hearings in these committees, and for a declassification of the in plenum vote, by registering and publishing the voting record of each individual MP.