Position of the Democratic Club No 42.
On the Credibility of Political Parties
Political parties are the basis of a parliamentary democracy. Their purpose is to express interest of various social groups, to form concrete programs, and to obtain support of voters for them. The Democratic Club has been following with concern the diminished confidence of the public towards the political parties and politicians in general. Public opinion surveys have been indicating this for some time. The Democratic Club is convinced that the distrust of party politics threatens the stability of the democratic order and also weakens the international reputation of the Republic. The most serious is, that it threatens the ability of the government and political life of the country. Confidence is an important factor in democratic politics.
The Democratic Club considers it necessary to pay increase attention to this problem. It recommends that the Senate of the Czechoslovak Republic create a study group to raise the public consciousness about the problem, to study the causes and to find ways to correct the situation. It will be important though to take precautions, namely to structure the committee and its deliberations in such a way that it will eliminate suspicion of inequities. Members of the Committee should have experience in active politics and should have the confidence of the public. The result of the deliberations of the study group should be an analytical report containing concrete suggestions.
The Democratic Club recommends following suggestions that are currently being applied in various other countries:
- To publish annual financial reports by political parties (the web site of the Parliament or as a report to a newly established regulatory institution.)
- To established a special regulatory institution, similar the American or British electoral commission, which would concentrate the powers of the parliamentary committee and of the ministry of finance. It should also have considerable regulatory authority and an advisory role in approving of laws relating to political parties and their finances
- To set upper limits on spending by political parties on election campaigns with the goal of eliminating the dependence of political parties on rich sponsors and thus strengthen their credibility in the eyes of general public
- To return to past suggestions to regulate lobbying activities, which our current administration included in its election program
February 20, 2009
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