LAB8 at the World Forum for Democracy on the link between corruption and populism highlighted the role of citizen watchdogs in combating these two ills. For instance, the Vouliwatch project in Greece has developed an interactive online monitoring platform aimed at facilitating citizen control over the legislative process. It is a monitoring tool which records all votes in the Greek parliament and breaks down legislation in layman’s terms. In Chile, the Partidos Públicos project provides citizens with information about how political parties operate, with this means of pressure pushing them to be more transparent. The holding of simultaneous political mandates in Belgium is monitored by Cumuleo.be, which publishes details of the mandates and also the functions and public or private professions exercised by political representatives and certain senior Belgian officials. This is a means of highlighting the accumulation of mandates and, above all, combating conflicts of interest. “Citizen monitoring is a real opportunity for consolidating democratic participation,” said Gunn Marit HELGESEN (Norway, EPP/CCE), President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, during the debate. “Active and vigilant electorates are the backbone of all democracies,” she stressed. The President of the Chamber of Regions also underlined the complementary nature of the monitoring performed by the media and by citizens, who contribute to the transparency of politics with different approaches and resources. “We must all fight corruption and be more open. That is the way to earn public trust, which is a vital asset for our countries’ development,” she said in conclusion, while pointing out that this requirement also had to be complied with by the initiatives seeking to ensure more transparent and open access.
LAB8 was sponsored by the Congress as part of its contribution to the World Forum for Democracy being held in Strasbourg from 8 to 10 November 2017.