Editorial: Audits of politicians' wealth
A new procedure is required, in order to ascertain whether a politician was enriched by his or her political activity, and whether there have been shady dealings in cash or real estate.
Every year there is a discussion of the income and property statements that are submitted by law annually to Parliament by the prime minister, ministers, and MPs.
For one or two days after the declarations are released, one hears cheap gossip that fuels a current of populism that verges on anti-politics.
The income and property of politicians is released until the next year. Hence, we know neither their financial worth nor how their wealth was obtained, as there is no serious audit in terms of the time span over which it was accrued or of their holdings.
Transparency for all those involved in public affairs is a basic constituent element of democracy.
That is why a new, more substantial procedure is required, in order to ascertain whether one entered politics as a wealthy person or was enriched by his or her political activity, and whether there have been shady dealings in cash or real estate.
The procedure should be extended to other public servants, elected officials, and journalists, to a greater extent than is currently the case.
This is even more necessary after revelation of the huge wealth of unknown provenance of a journalist, which is shocking and mars the vocation of journalism.
Instituting a real and substantial audit would require a broad consensus between political parties, the judiciary, and other authorities.
There must be a public discussion from scratch regarding the terms and limits of the audit procedure.
As the Greek saying goes, “Good accounting makes for good friends.”
True transparency strengthens the political system and its relationship with the citizenry.