Transparency International Estonia published an overview of all the local election platforms of the participating parties and election coalitions, which deal with anti-corruption measures and increasing transparency and integrity.
“There is still a high risk of corruption in local governments, which is why we were interested in what the parties and election coalitions themselves want to do in this area. Our overview is based on the same information that every other Internet user has access to: websites, Facebook pages and posts,” explained Carina Paju, CEO of TI Estonia.
In total, the association analyzed the platforms of 279 parties and election coalitions participating in elections. “In conclusion, it cannot be said that the candidates in the elections have thoroughly considered the issue of corruption and transparency. On one fifth of the times (55 in total) there were no anti-corruption measures mentioned in the platform or the platform could not be found at all. In addition, in 138 platforms out of 279 (half of the platforms) only slogans were used,” Paju commented.
“The prevention of corruption must be related to specific and measurable activities. Promises in the style of “cutting through red tape” or “fighting against corruption” remain mere slogans if they are not meaningful.”
“Fortunately, three out of ten platforms have explained their vision on corruption prevention, transparency and integrity in more detail. However, we can only exemplify eight platforms from all over Estonia - almost one out of 35 platforms, which is an extremely low number,” said Paju.
As exemplary platforms, where promises have been written down and recommendations made by TI Estonia taken into account, the association can highlight the following ones:
Estonian Reform Party in Tallinn
Pro Patria in Tallinn
Estonian Greens in Tartu
Social Democratic Party in Tartu
Election coalition Vali Viimsi in Viimsi
Estonian Reform Party in Harku
Social Democratic Party in Kohtla-Järve
Election coalition Kogukonna Hääl in Põhja-Sakala
In the spring, TI Estonia proposed a meeting for all the Estonian parties to introduce recommendations on planning of anti-corruption measures. The meeting was accepted by the Social Democratic Party, Estonian Reform Party, Estonian Centre Party, Estonian Party for the Future and Estonia 200. TI Estonia’s recommendations focus on three priorities:
- Ensure the implementation of measures to report misconduct in local governments, including creating a whistleblowing system that protects the identity of the whistleblower and ensures protection against persecution. If necessary, the system is shared with other local governments.
- Advocate for the accessibility of public information, including ensuring that the allocation of documents for internal use takes place only in justified cases in accordance with law.
- Publish lobby meetings of officials on the local government website, following the good practices of lobbying approved by the Government of the Republic of Estonia.
In addition, recommendations continue to address critical areas such as making anti-corruption training mandatory for the municipal council, establishing guidelines for avoiding conflicts of interest, hiring an independent internal auditor or conducting regular internal audits, independence of municipal media and ensuring transparency of local government subdivisions and companies.
Transparency International Estonia is a non-profit organisation operating in the public interest with the aim to prevent corruption, raise awareness about corruption as well as promote transparency and democracy in the Estonian society. In 2007, TI Estonia was accredited to represent the international anti-corruption organisation Transparency International in Estonia.