Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, February 18, 2018 08:57:40 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Corruption - is there a cure?

By
09th-Feb-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Adina Turk :
How corrupt can a politician be before they should be considered a criminal? In Romania's case, the answer is quite clear: 200,000 Euros.
According to a draft bill adopted by the lower house of Parliament earlier this month, abuse of office would no longer be considered a criminal offence if the sums involved were less than 200,000 Euros. In one of the European Union's poorest and most corrupt countries, where the average monthly salary is below 500 Euros (net), this bill was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Almost half a million people, both in the capital and other cities, braved the bitter winter weather to protest against proposals which critics say could jeopardize Romania's rule of law and dismantle democracy. It is not the first time Romanians have taken to the streets to show their indignation about how politicians misuse their power.
In the past two years, the country has been shaken by several large anti-corruption protests, leading to temporary and short-lived victories for the protesters. In effect, however, these laws, attempting to amend the penal code to help corrupted politicians to escape justice were slightly revised and re-tabled, leading to a groundhog-day feeling amongst the protesters this winter.
Sadly enough, Romania's path is not an exception, from a global and a historical perspective. Data from International IDEA's new Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices covering 155 countries between 1975-2015 show that reducing levels of corruption has proven to be the most difficult task for democracies around the world.
Moreover, the indices show that whilst most other democratic aspects such as representative government, fundamental rights and participatory engagement have improved in the past 40 years, corruption levels have remained the same since 1975, in spite of more efforts being made to curb this development. Implementing the rule of law in public administration tends to be difficult to change both in the short and medium terms.
This could partially explain the dissatisfaction with democracy seen in many electoral democracies emerging after 1975 (Source: International IDEA, The Global State of Democracy, 2017).
Corruption scandals affect perceptions of democracy. They cause citizens to lose trust in political parties, politicians, and institutions and inspire protest and deep indignation. In addition, recurring corruption undermines the integrity of the political system by making it vulnerable to capture by counterparts offering so-called "big money".
This further increases the perception of politics as a method for self-enrichment for the existing elite, leaving even more people with a sense of despair, disillusionment, and disappointment. "Big money" also provides a disproportionate advantage to a selected few, undermines effective public service delivery, and creates an uneven playing field especially for women and marginalized groups. When large bank accounts are needed to participate in elections or to hold prominent positions in a party, the system will benefit the existing elite, thereby widening the gap between the elected and the electorate.
And when the ones in power propose new laws to further protect their way of life, not only is trust lost, but also hope - hope that the democratic system could be a warrant against corruption and misuse of power. In addition, current measures to combat these problems often fall short, since they have a limited scope and the institutions that are supposed to enforce them are limited with constraints, while political parties face little accountability.
So, what is needed to curb corruption, restore trust and protect democracy? Instead of constantly adding to the number of mechanisms, actors and legal restrictions to curb corruption, a wider, holistic approach, focusing on the most effective solutions, should be considered.
The integrity of democratic politics should be protected throughout the political cycle and on a permanent basis. This includes mechanisms for political competition that focus on public official vulnerabilities to corruption, such as conflict of interest, lobbying, bank and tax secrecy rules, parliamentary immunity norms, protections for whistleblowers and the freedom of the press.
This more holistic approach should include a combination of improved anti-corruption mechanisms, new oversight instruments led by a variety of social and political actors, and enhanced political party regulations.
In addition, improved anti-money laundering systems, a vibrant civil society, a media that can effectively function as a watchdog, and crowdfunding efforts to raise many small donations as a counterbalance to big money, could all be effective actions.
In Europe, it has become increasingly evident that corruption levels should play a greater role both pre- and post-accession to the European Union. Current efforts to make anti-corruption reform in the Western Balkans a key requirement for EU accession are a case in point but similar requirements should also be put in place for already existing EU members.
Corruption levels could, for example, be linked to EU-members possibility to access or be eligible for EU funds or grants. GRECO's evaluations could serve as a source of monitoring in this regard as well as corruption levels measured by indexes such as "The Global State of Democracy Indices".
The European Parliament could support national parliaments to enhance their capacity for oversight over state spending, for example by setting up peer-to-peer exchanges and capacity building between national parliaments.  In addition, the European Commission, member states and international organizations could continue to support initiatives and independent organizations that aim to curb the opportunities for corruption, increase transparency and reveal misuse of funds.
Curbing corruption is not a quick-fix and there is no single universal cure for it. By combining the most effective treatments, however, there is more hope than ever that the endemic spread of corruption can be contained and ultimately reduced. There is a chance for both hope and trust to re-appear in society, leaving fewer people with the sentiment that the only solution is to take to the streets shivering in the winter cold.
(Adina Trunk is a programme officer at International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Trunk has previously worked with political parties and democracy development as a manager for the Eastern Europe programme at the party-affiliated organization KIC Sweden).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

More than Suu Kyi, the Generals deserve punishment first


THE UN special envoy on Thursday said, Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has clearly failed to stand up for the Rohingyas, and can well be held accountable for crimes against humanity. To a greater extent the UN envoy is correct. While talking to a news channel, the UN envoy also ...

Cricket »

Tamim to play in 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka


Sports Reporter :Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal will play for Bangladesh in the second and final Twenty20 International Cricket match against Sri Lanka at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet today. The match starts at 5.00 pm.Captain of Bangladesh team Mahmudullah Riyad said, " Tamim's condition is now pretty good. I ...

Entertainment »

Jennifer Winget back with `Bepannah`


Indian television's popular face Jennifer Winget has a huge fanbase-thanks to her impeccable acting prowess. Her performances on the silver screen have always made her a winner and after swooning the viewers in 'Beyhadh', the actress is back with a new TV show.Jennifer's new television show is titled 'Bepannah' and ...

Entertainment »

'Vulnerability' is the key to Kristen Bell's healthy marriage


Actress Kristen Bell says that "vulnerability" is a key factor in keeping her relationship with husband Dax Shepard "healthy". Bell posted a photograph of a hand-written note on Instagram, which detailed six key points which help her keep things running smoothly with her 43-year-old spouse, reports femalefirst.co.uk. The note read: ...

City »

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan distributing Bangladesh Coastguard Medals among the officials and employees of Bangladesh Coastguard at a ceremony organised recently at its Headquarters in the city 's Agargaon.


International »

Former playboy model alleges affair with Trump


AFP, Washington :A second woman has made allegations of an affair with Donald Trump, describing complex legal and financial agreements in an alleged bid to cover it up.Former Playboy model Karen McDougal claims that she and Mr Trump had a sexual relationship in 2006, months after first lady Melania Trump ...

Editorial »

Uncomfortable truth about meeting the wrong persons


The European Union's involvement in holding our national polls goes back more than a couple of decades.  As one may expects, this time also the political and economic union of 28 member states expects for an all-inclusive, free and fair polls to take place in Bangladesh. Last Wednesday a European ...

Entertainment »

Trolls affect our family, friends: Zareen Khan


Zareen Khan says she is glad that her mother is not on social media as she will get disturbed with the way her daughter gets trolled. "Trolls don't realise that whatever they write not only affects us but also affects our family and friends. I am very thankful for the ...

Sports »

Korean `Iron Man` Kim wins historic Olympic skeleton gold


AFP, Pyeongchang :South Korea's Yun Sung-bin made history Friday as he became Asia's first Olympic skeleton champion after completely dominating the daredevil event in Pyeongchang.Roared on by the home crowd on the start of a lunar new year observed in Korea, the 23-year-old stormed to his country's second gold medal ...

City »

The main road of the city`s Hazipara is in sorry state for the free movement of pedestrians and also passengers. The situation remains the same for long, but the authority concerned seemed to be blind to repair the road for the convenience of road users. The snap was taken on Friday.


.

International »

Desmond Tutu quits Oxfam role over charity`s sex scandal


AFP, Johannesburg :Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu announced Thursday that he had quit his role as an ambassador for Oxfam after the British charity was hit by sexual misconduct allegations."The Archbishop is deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity," ...

Editorial »

Quota versus merit: Deserving candidates being deprived


THERE are thousands of others who hold the existing quota system responsible for not getting the job a meritorious candidate deserves. Currently, only 44 percent are recruited on merit and the remaining 56 percent on privilege allocated under various quotas.The quota system draws two strong criticisms. Firstly, it is hugely ...

Cricket »

Soumya hits first half century in T20I


Southpaw opener Soumya Sarkar made a stormy return as he hit his maiden half century in the T20I format against Sri Lanka in the first match of the two-match T20I series at Sher-e-Bangla national Cricket Stadium at Mirpur on Thursday.The left-handed batsman put away Shehan Madushanka for a four and ...

City »

President Abdul Hamid along with others offering munajat when he visited Mazar of Hazrat Shahporan (R) in Sylhet on Thursday.


Entertainment »

Anupriya Goenka on playing lesbian in ad


Actor Anupriya Goenka recently played the role of queen Nagmati in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, starring alongside Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, but it was her controversial ad for a fashion brand in 2015, which created a lot of buzz. While it was touted as the first ever lesbian advertisement, ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news