Citizens’ interest in becoming involved in public life of communities is at low level, study

Citizens’ interest in getting involved in the public and administrative life of the local communities is low. This indicates that the population does not know about the importance of participating in the local public administration’s activities and decisions. On the other hand, local public authorities do not stimulate citizens’ participation, even if their involvement improves the performance and image of democratic institutions, says a study presented by CONTACT Center in a news conference at IPN on October 25.

Doctor of Sociology Inga Chistruga-Synkevich said the study included the use of a questionnaire that was applied to the citizens of the 10 localities participating in the project, a questionnaire applied to representatives of the local public authorities and focus group discussions. Less than half of respondents in the total sample believe that the relationship between the citizens and the Mayoralty/ Local Council of the locality is very good and good (43.2%). The relationship between the citizens and the Mayoralty / Local Council is appreciated as most positive in Copceac, Dubăsarii Vechi, Mereni and Glodeni, where the proportion of ‘good’ and ‘very good’ response variants exceeds 50%. At the other opposite is Chetrosu and Gura Bâcului with less than one-third.

The Dominant Public Opinion Index (DPOI) has been calculated to measure the level of population information in relation to Mayoralty initiatives in reference to citizens. The closer the index is to 100, the attitudes are more positive. DPOI recorded the most favorable values in Mereni (14.9), Dubăsarii Vechi (7.15), Glodeni (3.72) and Costeşti (1.92).

Of all the respondents, less than half (42.5%) pointed out that they were trying to get information directly from civil servants. In Mereni and Gura Bâcului villages, more than half of the respondents were in the same situation, 58 and 55%, respectively. Overall, more than half of the respondents said they were very satisfied and satisfied with the way they were able to access the information of public interest (58.9%). Focus group participants pointed out that a large number of people only ask for information from the mayor, on the grounds that other specialists deliberately do not offer it.

The study authors said the population has a low level of participation in various actions related to community problems, such as: consulting the local budget, allocating the budget, attracting investments, developing the community strategic plan, winning grants for the locality, developing community projects and creating business environments.

The study “Transparency of Local Public Administration in the Republic of Moldova” was carried out as part of the project “Increasing Local Government Transparency through participatory policies in the Republic of Moldova”. The project is implemented by CONTACT Center and is financed by the United Nations Democracy Fund.