The work behind “What Do We Choose?” was not only inspired by the 2014 parliamentary elections - fiscal policy-making in Hungary has been unpredictable and illtransparent for the past decades. For the proper development of democracy, it is essential that citizens cast their votes more consciously provided they have considerably more information than they had in the past.
The transparency of public finances, the accountability of government decisions and the unbiased, non-partisan presentation of expected financial outcomes as preconditions of welfareare yet to be recognized by the population at large. Until this happens, political parties are motivated to resort to demagogic slogans in pursuit of more votes, which draws their focus and effort away from creating a professional programme that can be implemented once they win the elections.
Transparency International Hungary and the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest teams up inthe “What Do We Choose?” project that sets out to analyse the programmes of the major political groups taking part in the 2014 elections with regard to public finances, and disclose their findings to the general public. Our findings will be open to everyone in this website. We wish to bring attention to the fact that only well-reasoned and publicly understandable party programmes can lead us to corruption-free administration. And to begin with, without transparency, there will be no catching up to the much talked about developed countries and their level of welfare.
The “What Do We Choose?” project consists of two parts. First we researched transparency in Hungary in a comprehensive study. In this study TI analyses institutional transparency from the viewpoint of public decision-making, campaign financing, liberty of information, anti-corruption governmental programmes and public procurement. FRIB compares OECD and IMF best practices to Hungarian fiscal policy-making in the part of fiscal transparency in practice. As the final part of this study, we wrote down our recommendations for the political parties to see and use. The second part of the project begins when the political parties make their programmes publicly available. Once a party discloses their election programme, TI monitors the promises in respect of their effect to corruption and institutional transparency; FRIB calculates the price of the quantifiable ones and their effect on fiscal balance.
We are aware that transparent campaign promises are a lot like street lightning: it is quite understandable that no one would like to cover their costs on their own, while they are both vital for all. We are cooperating for the sake of creating transparency in the promises of the political parties. If the voters who are aware of our efforts can come to a decision based on more information, we’ve done a good job.
We thank all your attention and support.
The study was supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Budapest. The pricing of the promises is partly funded by the Open Society Foundation. We take this opportunity to thank them for their help!
We could well use further funds to be able to communicate our messages to a wider range of people.