{"title": "Corruption in Bulgaria Threatens Social Stability","content": "
According to a CIPE-funded survey, 57% of adult Bulgarians believe that their politicians are primarily interested in securing special privileges for themselves and their friends. Bulgaria's Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) conducted a national survey on perceptions of corruption and found that it engenders pessimism about the promise of economic reform and weakens confidence in democracy. Low trust in public officials can derail a country's transition to a market economy. CSD's survey revealed that the majority of Bulgaria's population does not approve of the way reform is being implemented, though they agree that the transition to a market economy is inevitable.Corruption steps in when citizens don't realize their legally established rights, the survey found. For instance, although nearly all Bulgarians know that the law entitles them to free medical treatment, 86% of survey respondents believe they must bribe doctors in order to receive medical services.CSD's work on corruption builds on its programs that encourage privatization, capital markets and greater public participation in policymaking. Working with CIPE and NGOs, CSD developed an anti-corruption public awareness campaign that was launched as a pilot program in the mid-1990s. The success of this initiative led to the recent creation of Coalition 2000, a widespread effort to fight corruption involving the private sector, NGOs, the academic community, and the Bulgarian government.Other CIPE anti-corruption projectsIn <I>Slovakia,</I> the Center for Economic Development (CED) has proposed recommendations to add transparency to the procedures for auctioning licenses and awarding public procurement contracts. CED has also developed a research and advocacy program to highlight corruption in the Slovak government and to propose legislation that would create a transparent, accountable and efficient system. </P>In <I>Ecuador,</I> the National Association of Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is making recommendations to combat corruption in the judicial system, government procurement procedures, customs, privatization process, and social security, as well as to make public financial management more transparent. ANDE will advocate legislative or constitutional reforms to reduce opportunities for corruption and generate business leadership and public support for the fight against corruption.</P>ANDE recently conducted a study of the country's legal system and how it breeds corruption. It found that since the republic was founded 167 years ago, some 90,250 legal norms have been created, of which 52,774 were in force in 1997. The sheer number of the country's overlapping, unclear and contradictory laws creates an environment of legal chaos and allows bureaucrats to enforce the laws at their discretion. </P>ANDE has disseminated this study to policymakers and business leaders. Its booklet has been sent to the Commission on Anti-Corruption as well as to civil society organizations, legislators, administration officials, the judiciary, political party leaders, presidential candidates, universities, and media representatives throughout the country. </P>It has recommended creating a permanent committee of jurists whose sole goal would be to codify and harmonize all of the existing legal norms in Ecuador. The response in Ecuadorian society to this recommendation was so overwhelmingly positive that it has been included in the revision of the legal code adopted by the recent constituent assembly.</P>