Hungarian NGOs call for local government transparency again before municipal elections
Atlatszo, K-Monitor and Transparency International Hungary identified six key areas, where we ask candidates in municipal elections to commit themselves to putting into practice 21st century minimum standards for local government transparency. Candidates can join the initiative at the ezaminimum.hu webpage.
Our transparency proposals were motivated by the experience of our previous call in 2014 and our investigative work on the local, municipal level. Our call intends to be a minimum program: it covers recommendations that, in the view of the initiators, are a minimum necessary requirement of transparent local governance.
We hope that as many elected candidates as possible will go beyond these recommendations to promote innovative methods of transparent and participatory local governance in Hungary. Initiators will therefore not only take the pledges of the campaign, but will also help municipalities by sharing good practices after the elections.
2019 Municipal Transparency Minimum Program Points include recommendations about transparent operation and budgetary management, handling freedom of information requests, transparent public contracts and procurement, and accountable decision makers both in municipalities and municipality owned companies.
Before the 2014 municipal elections, we asked candidates to commit on four issues. Decision-making, budget, contracts, and declarations of wealth were the areas in which the pledges were committed to taking steps to improve the situation within 100 days after the local elections. Back then 193 candidates joined, and 43 of them won seats:
Four anti-corruption NGOs (Átlátszó, K-Monitor, Political Capital and Transparency International Hungary) are calling on local government candidates to sign an undertaking stating that, if they are elected, they will improve the transparency of local government.
Almost without exception, elected pro-transparency candidates initiated regulatory steps to implement our recommendations. In many places, however, the majority of the council or the notary stopped the attempt, but still dozens of local governments became more transparent as a result of our previous initiative.
Minimum program points were adjusted in the light of the results achieved, the experience gained and the needs encountered. We are looking forward to work with pro-transparency candidates this year. They can join the initiative at ezaminimum.hu.
You can read the original, Hungarian language call here.