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.