The Democratic Party’s proposal concerning the vetting of politicians seems to not only to have caught the Socialist majority by surprise, but to have thrown it into a messy, and, perhaps, panicked propagandistic effort to bury it before it sets roots.
From the reintroduction of Fazlic to the fake news about the arrest of a schoolmate’s business partner, to the explosions with brothers, brothers-in-law, to narratives of enemies of the Justice Reform – the public arguments against vetting being delivered by Socialist actors and their media agitators range from generally confused, superficial, emotional to ridiculous.
However, the most interesting development in this whole narrative is the fact that, from serving as the main weapon in the propaganda fight against the opposition, vetting has transformed into a target of Socialist attacks.
Until a few days before, the Socialist majority bragged about the incredible achievements of the vetting not only in the judiciary, but also in the vetting of police forces and even private attorneys.
Meanwhile, today, Socialists have no direct and clear answer to the fundamental question: how come the lowest-ranked policemen of the country’s most obscure backwater must undergo vetting, while the minister who controls all of the country’s police forces, or the Prime Minister for that matter, shouldn’t? How come Socialists brought up no possible technical problems about the vetting of judges, prosecutors, and police officers, but now they claim that it is logistically impossible to vet politicians?
Obviously, the vetting of politicians must be discussed and seriously considered in the public scene, besides the political one. However, these discussions must be freed of prejudices and misinformation that the Socialist majority and its propaganda machine are attempting to spread. To this purpose, below, we will summarize some of the misinformed claims that are being disseminated publicly these days.
Claim: The proposal to vet politicians is a bluff, or ridiculous, or impossible, as it is hard to pinpoint and then asses “inappropriate connections to criminal elements.”
Fact: The wording proposed by the opposition to be included in the Constitution in order to sanction the vetting of high politicians, is a general one and must then be broken down into specifics via a special law. However, this is not difficult, as such a consolidated practice already exists: the same exact constitutional specification has been used for the vetting of judges and prosecutors, and the constitutional definition “inappropriate connections to criminal elements” has been legally elaborated, and has been successfully implemented in the form of the vetting of the judiciary.
Claim: The opposition is seeking the proposal of politicians in order to avoid the investigation of their relatives.
Fact: The vetting of high politicians will not impede investigation into them or anyone connected to them. The vetting will neither exclude, nor impede, nor limit, nor negatively affect any investigation into politicians and people related to them. On the contrary, vetting of politicians aids and encourages the exposure of politicians’ criminal and corruptive affairs, as, like in the case of the judicial vetting, the results of the vetting are transferred to the Prosecution Office so it can conduct a criminal investigation.
It is worth explaining that the Special Prosecution Office (SPAK) and the National Bureau of Investigation (BKH) may only investigate high officials and criminal organized groups. This means that the claim that these two will investigate relatives of politicians is false – relatives of politicians may be investigated by these institutions only as part of investigations into politicians, however, any other matter of theirs is investigated, like any other citizen’s, by the county’s Prosecution Office.
Claim: Politicians will be vetted by the now-clean justice system, including SPAK and BKH.
Fact: The vetting is not a criminal investigation, it is a political process that limits the rights of politicians further than the Criminal Code and other laws regulating the behavior of politicians do. This means that the vetting may take you down even if one hasn’t committed a crime, as it has to do with one’s background and figure, which include not only criminal elements, but also “inappropriate” ones. For example, if a politician has an amicable relation with a criminal, without being involved in any criminal activity, and without favoring or aiding this criminal in his activity, there are no grounds for him to be criminally prosecuted. However, a political vetting would exclude him from holding a high state office, as such a relationship is deemed inappropriate for a high politician.
Claim: The vetting of politicians is being proposed in order to hamper the Justice Reform.
Fact: The vetting of politicians has no relation or negative effect on the Justice Reform. The legal and constitutional actions and processes that accompany the Justice Reform are entirely unrelated to the vetting of politicians. To illustrate the futility of this claim, one may also claim that the vetting of police officers, undertaken with much noise by the Socialist majority, also hampers the Justice Reform.
Within a wider context, it must be stressed that the role of the opposition in the implementation of the Justice Reform is practically nonexistent: it does not hold any legal or institutional power, it cannot prevent nor affect the Justice Reform in any way. The only case in which the opposition may have a slight effect is the one where the Socialist majority seeks to pass laws that patch or suspend Constitutional provisions, like the School of Magistrates law, via which, as a result of not being able to establish Constitutional institutions before the provided deadlines, the majority attempts to resolve the issue with special laws that harken back to pre-Justice Reform practices and institutions.