Overcoming ‘State Capture’ as a Key Cause of Misgovernance and
Corruption: The Case of
Group Advisor: Michael Emerson
I divided my Final Report in four parts which correspond to the three successive phases of my work in carrying out the project.
Based on these initial investigations I wrote my issue paper and submitted it in June, 2006, within the allotted time-frame.
Data that was collected fulfilled the following research goals:
Investigating the City of
Research on National Government functionary
appointments in public
enterprises, funds and agencies; investigation of their
function-accumulation and concentration of power. Among sources of
information was the Official Gazette of the
· Research of 250 MPs of the National Parliament for accumulation of functions, by number, content, and party;
· Investigation of how parties’ cadres are distributed in the governmental ministries and institutions within the same activity area, on both horizontal and vertical levels. The case studies of two ministries were investigated: the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Sport;
· Developing and testing 15 questions for the survey on public opinion about corruption, criteria about appointments for state positions, attitudes about the accumulation of functions, and public confidence in the institutions. The survey was carried out with the assistance of Strategic Marketing, the best-known public opinion research firm.
In order to prepare my advocacy tasks I obtained cooperation with the following organizations and media:
· Center for Liberal-Democratic Studies (NGO)
· CESID, an NGO for Free and Democratic Elections that holds conferences on party financing
· Strategic Marketing – Research Agency
· The Anticorruption Council of the Government of Serbia which invited me to a conference - “Anti-Corruption Days”, June, 2006:
· The Democratic Party’s Committee for Public Services. It offered to cooperate and invited me to a debate about policy issues as a preparation for the forthcoming elections;
· NALED'S Working Group Forum on Business-Government ( I became a member of the National Alliance for Local Economic Development, founded by USAID);
· Media such as the daily newspaper in Novi Sad “Dnevnik”, the daily newspaper “Danas”, the weekly magazine “Vreme” and the monthly journal “Republika”.
During this period, not waiting to finish my policy paper, I started to raise the question of state capture (“party state”) in the public, by writing articles for daily papers (four articles, two of them are translated into English and posted on the Policy Document Center, pdc.ceu.hu). I participated in talk shows on the radio and TV (the popular radio shows - “Pescanik” and “Kaziprst”, and the TV shows on the B 92, Studio B, and local TV stations.
Based on the valuable comments I received on how to improve the paper, and my own further work on the problem, I worked out my final version which was edited by CEPS and published in March 2007 (www.ceps.be). By May 21, CEPSSHOP reported that there were 400 downloads of my paper. I also published the Serbian version of the paper in the monthly journal Republika (April 1, 2007), and on the internet address: www.republika.co.yu. Republika distributed 5.000 copies of my paper. I also posted my final version on the IPF site: www.policy.hu/vpesic
To promote my policy ideas about how to fight ‘state capture’ and eliminate corruptive party influence in all the government institutions (including the judiciary) , I accepted an offer of the Liberal Democratic Party to be one of their candidates for the Serbian parliamentary elections in January 2007. The LDP succeeded in entering the Parliament and I became an MP with a verified mandate on February 15. I used the election campaign (December and January) to speak in public about state capture and corruption and how to create responsible and transparent government. I participated in numerous rallies and radio and TV shows, speaking out against “party monopoly in the public sector”; advocating for Serbia to join the EU; promoting the creation of transparent, democratic and accountable government at national and local level by avoiding vertical division of power; calling for changes in the Law on Financing Political Parties; seeking the professionalize of the public administration; advocating reform of the police and military and the implementation of the law on lustration, and calling for the engagement of citizens and the media in the fight against systemic corruption.
both the Serbian
and English versions of my policy paper were published, I organized a
one-day Conference about State Capture and Corruption, together with
During the process of electing the new Serbian government on May 15. I used my opportunities to speak in Parliament to denounce the corruptive mechanism of “state capture’ . The speeches were given in front of the future ministers, the prime minister, all MPs, and millions of citizens who watched the Parliament session on TV (see the speech on www.ldp.org.yu).
What is the result of my widely-heard presentations about state capture and the measures that are required for its elimination, including being heard by the top decision-makers in the Parliament, National government officials, the academic community, NGOs and citizens?
My policy paper was highly-evaluated in public. Awareness was very broad. But it so-far has not had much effect in practice. The ruling parties which make up the new coalition government have not eliminated the “feudal” division of public sector into pieces, which are, as whole (“prey”) distributed to each party in the coalition. Before the election the Democratic Party promised not to use ‘vertical, feudal division’ of the ministries and public sector, but it did not keep to its promise. The other two parties in the coalition were more blunt in insisting that each party have a monopoly over its “prey”. There has yet to be an increase in professionalization in public administration. Cronyism is reinforced. Parties began trading positions for their party cronies from the first day the government was elected. Their manipulation reaches into details, like the heads of hospitals, theaters, schools, etc. not to mention the more-profitable positions. No, improvement has yet been made in achieving a more-transparent financing of the election campaigns, because all the donors remain secret from the public. The most generous and richest tycoons are getting favors (the “kick back pattern” is visible). No comments in public have so far appeared about that. I commented about the maneuverings of one tycoon, and was immediately attacked in the tabloid papers; this demonstrates that the tycoons continue to be part of the system via the secret financing of the parties, and the huge personal ties that have been made between politics and business.
There are some steps forward. Some controlling institutions, like the State Revision Institution and the Ombudsman are to be elected in June 2007. Norms about conflict of interests have begun to be applied more strictly, so that MPs and members of government can no-longer hold other functions, although it is still not clear whether they are allowed to be presidents and members of the Executive Boards in public enterprises.
undisputable result of the project is that the public is now
highly-aware of the problem of state capture - “party state” - as it is