Corruption in Bulgaria Threatens Social Stability EconomicReformToday - 1998/8/10
According to a CIPE-funded survey, 57% of adult Bulgarians believe that their politicians are primarily interested in securing special privileges for themselves and their friends. Bulgaria's Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) conducted a national survey on perceptions of corruption and found that it engenders pessimism about the promise of economic reform and weakens confidence in democracy. Low trust in public officials can derail a country's transition to a market economy. CSD's survey revealed that the majority of Bulgaria's population does not approve of the way reform is being implemented, though they agree that the transition to a market economy is inevitable. Corruption steps in when citizens don't realize their legally established rights, the survey found. For instance, although nearly all Bulgarians know that the law entitles them to free medical treatment, 86% of survey respondents believe they must bribe doctors in order to receive medical services. CSD's work on corruption builds on its programs that encourage privatization, capital markets and greater public participation in policymaking. Working with CIPE and NGOs, CSD developed an anti-corruption public awareness campaign that was launched as a pilot program in the mid-1990s. The success of this initiative led to the recent creation of Coalition 2000, a widespread effort to fight corruption involving the private sector, NGOs, the academic community, and the Bulgarian government.

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