Sinaia, October 13-15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, the Eastern European NGO network titled “A Coalition for Clean Parliaments in Eastern Europe” was formed in Sinaia. The initiative belonged to the Romanian Academic Society, the coalition’s founder in Romania. The decision to form the network was taken after a conference attended by NGOs from all Western Balkan and Black Sea-region states. Also, World Bank, European Council, European Parliament, Balkan Stability Pact, Central European Trust, Romanian Presidency and Romanian Justice Ministry representatives were in attendance.
The new coalition decided that the strategy adopted in 2004 for Romanian parliamentary elections (the “Coalition for a Clean Parliament” campaign), which led to 98 candidates losing their seat in Parliament, serve as model for similar initiatives in network member states, all of them European Union candidates. Depending on the constituency of local coalitions and the timing of elections, the Romanian strategy will be exported and adapted to local needs, in order to create new political integrity standards. The Balkan network is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the CEE Trust. It aims to encourage the transfer of good practices from one country to the other, as well as to provide technical and logistic support for the campaign initiators. Black Sea region member state participation was financed by the Frederich Ebert Stiftung, a conference co-organizer. Bulgaria announced it intended to form such a coalition for the 2007 European Parliament elections.
The first financing partner that decided to back this effort was the European Parliament Green Group. On October 5, the Romanian coalition also announced it plans to reprise the campaign, for the May 2007 local European Parliament Elections. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, the coalition’s initiator, stated at the end of the conference that the interest the campaign roused in Romania was a good sign. “Brussels-imposed conditions alone cannot build a democracy,” she said. “If the civil society and voters in these countries don’t make an effort to change the rules of the game and base political life on other principles, so that, no matter who takes over the power, they have to abide by certain integrity rules, the public will be quickly disappointed by colorful revolutions. If an electoral revolution like the one in Ukraine is not followed by a revolution against the corrupted system, the positive effect of the electoral revolution is lost. The fight to establish certain integrity norms and standards in politics must deepen and expand in our region, if we want people to prefer democracy over communism.”
The “Coalition for a Clean Parliament Campaign” is cited as an example of good practice in the 2006 Anticorruption in Transition 3 World Bank handbook. The founding members of the Coalition for Clean Parliaments in South-Eastern Europe are: • Albanian Institute for International Studies (Albania) • Agenda Institute (Albania) • Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria) • George Marshall Association (Bulgaria) • Partnership For Social Development (Croatia) • Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (Georgia) • TI-Georgia (Georgia) • Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (Georgia) • Analytica, (Macedonia) • The Monitoring Center (Muntenegru) • The Network for Affirmation of the NGO Sector (Muntenegru) • Center for Democratic Transition (Muntenegru) • MANS (Muntenegru) • TI-Moldova (Republica Moldova) • CAPTES (Republica Moldova) • Coalition for a Clean Parliament (Romania) • Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia) • Belgrade Center for Human Rights (Serbia) • Fund for an Open Society (Serbia) • U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (Ucraina) • Center for Ukrainean Reform (Ucraina)