A group of NGOs, including the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), the Independent Press Association (API), the Centre for the Analysis and Preventing Corruption (CAPC) and the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM), launched on Friday, July 13 the Civic Initiative "For a Clean Parliament 2018", which aims to monitor candidates for the post of MP in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.
Monitoring will be based on four criteria: integrity in political activity, integrity in wealth and personal interests management, integrity in the exercise of public and / or party functions, criminal record. NGOs aim to promote an informed and conscience vote in the parliamentary elections, as well as the principle of the integrity of public officials.
Under the Civic Initiative "For a Clean Parliament 2018", a group of investigative journalists will monitor, based on integrity indicators, both the lists of candidates presented by political parties with chances of accession in the future Parliament and other potential party candidates or independent candidates in the national constituency and in the uninominal constituencies. In all, about 450 potential candidates will be monitored in the pre-election campaign and up to 250 short profiles of candidates enrolled in the lists of registered parties or independent registered candidates will be drawn up in the election campaign. Profiles will be based on well-documented journalistic investigations, with sources of information that can be verified. The profiles and investigations will be published in several national and local media sources and will be available on the www.Moldovacurata.md, www.Anticoruptie.md and www.Investigatii.md portals.
In the inauguration of the event, Cornelia Cozonac, president of the Center for Investigative Journalism said: "The right to vote is perhaps the most important right and the citizen must be free to decide on the candidate to be promoted for public office. That is why, it is crucial for us, civil society and all citizens to promote, to inform, to try to convince as many voters as possible that it is important to cast informed votes, to find out more information about the candidates for public seat, about their integrity and professionalism and their interest to make changes for the benefit of citizens. "
Petru Macovei, executive director of the Association for Independent Press said: "We want to ensure a high number of informed citizens with the right to vote about candidates for the MP post office in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. It will be hard to do this in this election campaign because we have the mixed voting system. However, we believe that it is the right of citizens to know the candidates in elections. We also want to promote the principle of integrity of people promoted for public office. We are confident that MPs must be people who deserve this seat, people who will work for the good of the people, not for the good of interest groups. "
Galina Bostan, president of the Centre for the Analysis and Preventing Corruption said: "As lawyers, we will work with journalists to profile and investigate candidates in order to ensure the correctness of the information presented and, at the same time, ensure representation in court if any electoral candidate sues us or we are restricted access to information. We had four cases in the period 2010-2914. We've won all of them. "
Viorica Zaharia, editor of the Moldovacurata.md portal, stressed: "I want to emphasize that no matter what price the government puts on the notion of integrity, journalists are obliged, by virtue of their mission to monitor the integrity of the MPs, ministers, mayors and all those who serve the public service. Some institutions leave the notion of integrity to the National Integrity Agency. We want to remind the parties how important it is to have upright candidates on the list, to form the Government and the Parliament, and especially to inform the citizens about officials leading the country. "
Mariana Kalughin, expert at the Association for Participatory Democracy said: "We will have some basic criteria in terms of integrity in political activity and consistency in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary activity. No cases of party switching, partisan or doctrine will be omitted. We will monitor the observation of the tax regime, the conflict of interest, the compliance of the candidate with the wealth and personal interests statements, compliance of lifestyle with the reported income. In terms of integrity in exercising public functions, it is about information that is already known to the public, the extent to which this person has promoted meritocracy, integrity, transparency, human rights, professional ethics and deontology, as well as managed patrimony, public and / or the party funds".
Of all representatives of parliamentary parties, only Vladimir Voronin attended the roundtable of the Initiative launch. He presented his critical view on the corruptibility of the deputies in the Parliament. "This initiative is extraordinary, but you are idealists, all of us are and we want to believe that something will come out of it", said the leader of PCRM.
In order to strengthen the parliamentary accountability in Moldova, the Civic Initiative "For a Clean Parliament 2018" proposes to the political parties to fill in an evaluation questionnaire for each candidate which the party intends to include in the list, both in the national constituency and in the uninominal constituencies and to send this information for verification to the member organizations of the Civic Initiative.
The founding organizations of the Civic Initiative “For a Clean Parliament” have conducted similar monitoring of candidates in the 2009, 2010 and 2014 parliamentary elections.