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Cabinet approves draft rules for political lobbying

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Prague, Feb 21 (CTK) – The Czech cabinet approved draft lobbying rules aiming to make lobbyists report their activities and thereby limit the undesirable effects connected with them, such as corruption, conflict of interest and clientelism.

The draft was created by the office of previous Human Rights Minister Jan Chvojka (Social Democrats, CSSD). Its authors refer to lobbying, that is a systematic activity striving to push through certain groups’ interests, as a legitimate part of the democratic process. At the same time, they point out that due to a lack of clear rules, the public often associates it with corruption, since the borderline between lobbying and the criminal act of indirect bribery is very thin.

The document presents four different types of future regulation of lobbying, preferring the one which introduces a register of lobbyists, a so-called legislative footprint and the recording of all gifts over 5,000 crowns.

According to this option, the register would contain the names of people who systematically strive to influence the legislative process at the central level, as opposed to the local government level.

Ministers, MPs and senators would then be asked not to meet with unregistered lobbyists.

The proposal is to prevent anonymous changes in the prepared legislation.

State employees, public officials and their professional teams would have to mandatorily cite all people, who have influenced the creation of a legislative draft or its final form.

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