Bringing together Czech anti-corruption NGOs, businesses, active citizens and civil society groups, experts, and politicians, we initiated and continue to coordinate the national anti-corruption platform Reconstruction of the State. The main goal of this joint citizen-led advocacy project is to advocate for the adoption of nine anti-corruption laws that will reduce political corruption and clientelism in the Czech Republic. The project was officially launched in March 2013 and—thanks to its success and unique nature—has since inspired several similar initiatives in other Central and Eastern European countries (e.g. Hungary and Slovakia).
The anti-corruption laws promoted by the coalition will, among other effects, prevent the illicit financing of political parties, misuse of public funds, money laundering, and political interventions in police investigations.
9 “Reconstruction” laws that will help end corruption
- Transparent financing of political parties and election campaigns
- Declarations of assets by politicians on taking up an office
- Online central register of all public contracts
- Abolition of anonymous shares
- Professional appointments to supervisory boards of state-owned enterprises
- Depoliticization and professionalization of civil service
- Public prosecution without political interference in investigations
- Transparent legislative process
- Extension of powers of the Supreme Audit Office
For more information on the Reconstruction of the State Project and the nine transparency measures it promotes, see the Reconstruction of the State website.
2008–2011: Fighting state capture in the Czech Republic
Frank Bold has been providing legal support to cases in the public interest for more than 18 years. During this time, we have often seen how public funds are used for private, rather than public, interests—an experience that has been echoed by our local partners and other Czech civil society organizations.
Based on our experience, we came to believe that the problem requires a systemic solution in the form of concrete anti-corruption legislation that would effectively mitigate major risks of political corruption. However, after a failed attempt to push through a constitutional amendment allowing independent oversight of state-owned companies, it further became clear that the adoption of laws that will effectively reduce political corruption and clientelism in the Czech Republic would take more than just one organization.
2012: The birth of Reconstruction of the State
Preparations for the project began in 2012 when we brought together 20 anti-corruption NGOs, initiated joint discussion and collaboration, and eventually formulated a joint advocacy strategy. Frank Bold, Transparency International Czech Republic, and Oživení became the three leading organizations of Reconstruction of the State, and a dozen more NGOs joined the coalition. In total, more than 50 experts from the NGO sector worked on the preparation of the project. Expert working groups for each of the nine themes and laws of Reconstruction of the State were established. In the early stages, the project received significant support from the US Embassy in Prague and Open Society Fund Prague.
2013: Pledge campaign
Reconstruction of the State was officially launched in March 2013, one year before the general elections scheduled for May 2014. However, the fall of the government in June 2013 (caused, incidentally, by a corruption scandal) and the subsequent snap parliamentary elections meant a radical change of the project’s strategy. This translated into a successful pledge campaign in which all candidates and political parties running for the elections were asked to pledge support to the nine anti-corruption laws promoted by Reconstruction of the State.
With the help of “ambassadors” (active citizens supporting the project) and other partners, more than one quarter of the total number of candidates—and subsequently 165 out of 200 elected members of the new Parliament—had signed the Pledge of Support for Reconstruction of the State.
2014–2017: Advocacy & monitoring MPs’ activity
As a result of post-election negotiations, the anti-corruption laws promoted by Reconstruction of the State appeared in the new coalition agreement as well as in the government’s policy statement and the official anti-corruption strategy. Once the new government and Parliament were in place, the Reconstruction of the State experts resumed their work on bill proposals and discussions with decision-makers.
As announced during the election campaign, we further introduced a monitoring and rating system that shows how individual MPs vote on the nine “Reconstruction laws”. Results of this detailed monitoring will be published before the next parliamentary elections in 2017.
Since the beginning of the campaign, the following legislation has been adopted: abolition of anonymous shares (May 2013), Civil Service Act (September 2014, not in compliance with our recommendations), Chamber of Deputies’ Rules of Procedure (October 2014), and the Act on Register of Contracts (November 2015). Information on the current state of the individual bills is available on the Reconstruction of the State Project website.