Analysis of State Capture Characteristics: Latvia’s case

Project period:
07.01.2015 - 07.01.2017
Project costs:
120 000 USD
Open Society Foundations Think Tank Fund, co-financing by Delna and PROVIDUS

Aims of the Project are:
• Creation and approbation of methodology for monitoring of possible cases of state capture within the legislative process and appointment of state-officials appointed by the Parliament;
• Attracting attention of the wider community and politicians regarding risks of state capture and options for mitigation of these risks.

Within the framework of this Project, state capture is to be understood as a form of corruption, in which control over policy processes and creation of society’s “rules of the game” is gained by private players (entities and/or groups of elite), leading to significant social losses. It could be said that the private sector dictates the rules for the public one. State capture can occur not only by means of payment.

However, in order to clearly separate from legitimate representation and lobbying of interests of the private sector, within the framework of this Project “state capture” is primarily understood as a situation in which players of the private sector carry out a dictate with the help of rendering economic gains (bribes, partly or fully hidden party financing) to decision-makers.

One of the most extensive activities of the Project will be monitoring of progress of selected legislative initiatives and appointment of officials, in accordance with an original methodology, which will be created in a way that defines characteristics of possible illegitimate influence as accurately as possible.

The selection of legislative initiatives will cover bills related to anti-corruption, good governance, quality of democracy and other areas.

Monitoring will begin at the end of 2015 and finish in the middle of 2017. Results will be published on websites and on regular basis, in the end also being gathered within an analytical report. In addition, based on the experience gained during the Project, possible characteristics of state capture will be envisaged in a hand-book, incorporating recommendations for their monitoring. The primary target audience of the hand-book will include civil society activists and organisations in other countries.

In parallel, four case-studies will be created within the project, giving an in-depth view regarding addressing of issues of specific areas. These case-studies will imply both – legislative initiatives and appointment of officials – sometimes also addressing work of executives and municipalities.

The first case-study will regard the progress of KNAB reforms and appointment of officials.

Within the framework of the Project, organisation of four public discussions is foreseen, regarding legislative topicalities in anti-corruption, governance and quality of democracy. Two discussions will take place in Riga, and two – in regions of Latvia. During these events new ideas and topics for further research and advocacy activities will also be gathered.

In separate cases, organisations involved in the Project will engage in advocacy of concrete proposals, mostly focusing on matters that are included in the to-do list for the 12th Saeima “10 most important deeds for a better and more honest Latvia”, which was created by Delna and PROVIDUS. If necessary, web platform will be used for ensuring presence of specific proposals on the agenda of Saeima via collection of signatures.

The Project is carried out by Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS and Transparency International Latvia – Delna. The Project is supported by Open Society Foundations.

The overall costs of the Project are 120 000 USD, from which 95 000 USD or approximately 80% will be covered by Open Society Foundations Think Thank Fund. 20% of the costs are co-financed by PROVIDUS and Delna.

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