11/32. Open and transparent government

11/32. Open and transparent government

I will give citizens full access to government.

  • The president’s office will appoint full- and part-time interns to receive suggestions and recommendations confidentially from members of the public. These communications will be tracked, filtered via a chain of command, and assigned to ministries. The best citizen ideas that get implemented will receive financial rewards of between €100 – €10,000. The awards will be checked abroad, possibly from Greece, to avoid corruption, nepotism, or conflicts of interest.  
  • As president I would hold a monthly ‘clinic’ to discuss issues directly with members of the public. I cannot promise to fix their problem, but I will at least listen.
  • I will introduce a pilot scheme for online opinion polls to assist government in key decision planning. Referenda or elections must never be done online, however opinion polls such as protecting the Akamas can. I wish to make clear, the results will not be binding on government or parliament, however it will give indicative opinion. The system will be robust to avoid duplicate voting or hacking. And at arm’s length from government to protect privacy.  

I will provide total government transparency

  • Citizens will have the right to know in detail how their money is being spent.
  • A central hub will have a public online dashboard of the organisational structure of every government, district, municipality, town, and village department. This will include any department or agency, however obscure, that employs anyone at taxpayers’ expense. It will show headcount and annual cost; headcount and cost increases over the last 3 years; what they do; and where to find their website pages in Greek and English. For villages and municipalities, it will show costs divided by population for comparison per head, and the unit cost of water.   
  • This central hub will also transparently show what new initiatives the government is working on, and by which ministry or ministries. Importantly, it will also show which initiatives the government seeks public consultation for. At present it is very difficult to do this without searching across various government websites.
  • As part of my promise to have a transparent government, this central hub will also show a national debt clock similar to www.usdebtclock.org, the Cyprus government’s sovereign credit rating, and eventually the value of Cyprus’ natural gas sovereign wealth fund, similar to Norway’s. See how much it’s worth live: https://www.nbim.no/en/   

11.1 Special interest groups: total transparency

It is good to listen to and support special interest groups. Throughout this manifesto I have included the interests of many such groups, for example, LGBTQ+, the poorest in our society, pensioners, women, and those with disabilities. What I have not done is ask for donations from their representatives or associations as a condition for supporting them.   

If elected president, any special interest group will have the right to lobby and petition publicly for change directly to government and parliament, in a way similar to https://petition.parliament.uk/. Cypriots have the absolute right to organise and take part in peaceful demonstrations. However, a few days later, the story will be forgotten. For real impact, it can be done online because it is in the public domain longer; this is less tiring and avoids having to drive somewhere, saving time, money and fuel costs (and CO2).

I would question why a special interest group would lobby for changes to laws in secret. If car dealers, hairdressers, or property developers think there’s a better or fairer way something should be done, make it public, explain why, and get those of similar opinions to publicly support you.


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