The “revolving door” phenomenon and practiced conflicts of interests are some of the major problems in Portuguese politics. These two interlinked phenomenons undermine democratic legitimacy. In order to appropriately survey and monitor the behavior of elected representatives, we propose a new tool based on crowd-sourcing principles.
In Portugal, Members of the Parliament are lawfully required to file declarations of interests and file them at the Constitutional Court. While publicly available, it is hard to access these documents as there is no digital version, and copying them integrally is difficult and costly. Also, these documents are only available to citizens willing to submit requests to the Constitutional Court, go to Lisbon, and consult them in person. Moreover, making integral copies is not allowed, although notes are allowed. Making them free and easily available is therefore very important.
There are a number of public-access sources, namely via an indexed version of the Republic Law Digest, containing all Portuguese legislative output and key informational resources (e.g. political elites’ CVs and owned property), but they are scattered data sources across e-government systems. Merging these sources is a very important task and we aim to build a web portal with social networking and e-learning capabilities . The recently-completed National Integrity System assessment attests to the lack of integrity and transparency mechanisms facing MPs and the Parliament, necessitating better monitoring. We will provide a freely-available solution to citizens.