The scope of this project was prompted by the lack of alternative sources of information for over 80% of the Romanian population (who do not read political newspapers) and the general discontent with the quality of the Romanian political class, twelve Romanian NGOs led by SAR established in 2004 a Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP) (www.ong.ro). The concept was first piloted on seven main cities during the June 2004 local elections, and then extended to all the candidates in the November national elections.
CCP first established the criteria which would make a candidate unfit for a clean Parliament: a) having repeatedly shifted from one political party to another; b) having been accused of corruption or conflicts of interests on the basis of published verifiable evidence; c) having been exposed as agent of the communist secret police. The second step was to discuss those criteria with the leadership of the main political parties. The third step was to gather information about the candidates of the main political parties. This meant: a) collecting information from reliable local sources, including media; b) collecting relevant data from public institutions: c) double checking the information collected. The fourth step was to draw up the lists of those candidates who would meet some or all of the criteria and, therefore, judged by the CCP as morally unfit for a seat in the future Parliament. The “black lists” were sent to the political parties which were asked to re-examine each case and to decide whether to withdraw or maintain the candidate, or submit appeals. The last step consisted in releasing the final CCP lists, under the form of nearly two million flyers, distributed in most of the constituencies, starting from village level. The flyers were also made available on the web page so that they can be downloaded by any interested person and distributed further.
CCP gained enormous visibility and media coverage, becoming one of the focal points of the 2004 electoral campaign. The Coalition won in court all the cases brought against it by a number of candidates and dignitaries, based on the freedom of speech argument. 98 candidates nominated by CCP were either dropped from the ballots or lost elections; while 104, although present on the CCP blacklists, succeeded to enter Parliament. The success rate of this campaign was therefore a little below 50%.
An English-language book with the story of CCP and the biographies of the candidates for the parliament who were blacklisted was published by the Coalition a few months after the 2004 elections.
The Coalition for a Clean Parliament extends in SE Europe
On Saturday, Oct. 14 2006, following the conference with the title “Curbing Political Corruption: Anticorruption as Revolution” organized by the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) with support from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, National Endowment for Democracy and CEE Trust, a regional network of organizations committed to fighting political corruption was set up with the name of East European Integrity Network (EEIN).
Financed by: Soros Foundation for Democracy