MPs’ reports: democratic requirement or public whim?

Kyiv, 6 February 2017 – Open Parliament Initiative presented unified form of MP's report at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.

1It was exactly one year ago – on February 5, 2016 – that Ukraine joined the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. It is an international standard aimed at ensuring that parliaments properly fulfill their representative function. On the eve of the first anniversary of the Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine (in frame of UNDP-VRU-EU "Rada for Europe" Project) activists of the CHESNO movement have analyzed how MPs report on their activities – the practice which should make MPs' activity open and clear to the public.

Accountability of politicians is a fundamental principle of a civilized society. Yet, according to the results of the analysis conducted by CHESNO, only 15% of MPs report on their activities. The others violate the law. The public has access to the reports of 63 MPs for any given period of 2016. That makes only 15% of 423 MPs. The data show that these MPs participate in the plenary meetings on average 8% more often (according to the written registration data), while their cards are active during the voting 10% more often. The MPs who submit reports – mostly those elected under the majoritarian system – boast in them about charity and "squeezing out" money for their electoral districts.

2The committee in charge of monitoring implementation of the Open Parliament Initiative action plan has repeatedly raised the issue of approving a unified form of report and control over regular reporting, so that voters could finally have a chance to compare the quality of representation of their interests at the supreme national legislator. The coalition involving MPs, representatives of the VRU Secretariat, and public figures has designed a unified form of MP's report and presented it during the event.

This report form should be integrated into parliamentary page and contain clear criteria by which voters can assess how the MPs work. "It must include work plans, deputy inquiries and appeals, work in committees and work with voters, financial costs, international activities, etc. So a voter can effectively evaluate the MP's activity," noted MP Ostap Yednak.

3However, the general public still needs to be taught that such reports should be considered when choosing a person to vote for. "We are not aware that it is essential for the society to draw conclusions by following how a person works, attends committee meetings. And then, if needed, there may be sanctions and the person will not be voted for during the election. For the only effective sanction mechanism for MPs can be political sanctions when the person simply will not be able to come to parliament. The public still need to be explained who is an effective MP," believes MP Alyona Shkrum.

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