2005-06 International Policy Fellow
Democratic Governance, Transparency, and Accountability working group
Political lobbying has come to the fore in public discourse in the Czech Republic in recent years. Current public perception of lobbying is negative however. The word is often used as a synonym for corruption, bribery and other unfair political practices or influences. This is primarily the result of its legal non-recognition. Until clear rules of interaction between elected representatives and lobbyists representing their constituents are established, the country's political and economic system will face serious problems. These are a lack of trust, confidence and potentially legitimacy. Politicians are split on the issue. Some refuse to acknowledge or discuss the practice, whilst others recognize it exists but refuse to consider attempts to regulate it.
Three policy options exist which would give lobbying a firmer legal framework within which to operate. A codex framework is the most likely to be adopted but there are doubts over the effectiveness of such a move. Partial amendments may be the easiest course of action, but are arguably the least ambitious choice. The third option is that of passing of a law on lobbying. This is the most ambitious policy and is likely to face much opposition. Lobbyists and lobbying need to be clearly defined. There needs to be a communication strategy on lobbying regulation aimed at the general public. They need to be convinced that lobbying can be a mutually beneficial proposition for politicians, lobbyists and the general public themselves.