Transparency International Czech Republic and KDI / TI Kosovo are cooperating on monitoring of elections in Kosovo
From 30th May to 3rd June 2017, an expert group of representatives from our organizations worked in Pristina to evaluate a test round of monitoring procedures aimed at making the funding of political campaigns more transparent in Kosovo. This happened a week before the unexpected early parliamentary elections, and the rapid response of both organizations has also produced the first positive results: some political parties are actually publishing their budget information – for the first time in the democratic history of Kosovo.
Press-conference in Pristina | source: TI
In response to the announcement of early elections, the international team prepared an approach and set of requirements for the transparency of pre-election campaign fundings; than sent an appeal to 39 political parties and movements in Kosovo to make resources, budgets and spending more transparent for this important political round transparent. Such an undertaking has never been attempted in Kosovo before us.
The appeal appeared to be effective: we have reached responses from several parties, thus for the first time, the civil society in Kosovo was allowed to take a look into expenses of political parties during the campaign.
We presented the results at a joint press conference of KDI / TI Kosovo and TI-CR in Pristina (2nd June 2017) at the headquarters of TI Kosovo, where also KDI Director Ismet Kryzeziu and TI-CR Director David Ondráčka addressed. The honored guests of the press conference were the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Priština Ivo Šilhavý and First Secretary of Ambassador Dušan Králík. The guests attended the short internal presentations about the possibilities of supporting the democratization processes in the Republic of Kosovo.
The test results and methods will be used during the campaign before the local elections (fall) when our joint team will start the independent monitoring again.
However, the conference was preceded by joint working groups on which Petr Vymětal, David Ondráčka and Ondřej Cakl shared their experience of more than five years experience of continuous pressure to make the campaigns more transparent with colleagues from Kosovo, and above all, explained the verified methods that can guarantee partial public oversight of political party expenses.
The team also participated in the party pre-election meetings, as observers, and helped with preparations of the monitoring of e-day parliamentary elections which are going to take place on 11th June. This event, which is being organized by TI Kosovo (within the framework of the Democracy in Action Association), is a breathtaking act: in each of 2500 polling stations, an accredited observer will supervise over 12 hours over the regularity, fairness, and legality of the on-going elections. (The enormous action infrastructure to support such „personnel monitoring“ is ensured regardless greater costs.) Since in the Czech Republic we do not know about a similar form of democracy in action (in terms of civil society engagement and interest), we can envy our colleagues from Kosovo. However, it is also a source of new insights into the possible forms of civic oversight of public issues.
The cooperation was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the framework of the Transition Promotion Program through the MElKO project.
Given our joint pilot monitoring in Kosovo, we were able to let the civil society see the expenditures that political parties have during the pre-election campaign for the first time.