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People and Politics Forum 10. 03. 2008

"Should ministers be allowed to become lobbyists after leaving government?"

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It's a short walk from political office to lobby group - and one made by an increasing number of politicians.Gerhard Schröder is the most prominent example: the dust had not even settled on his term as German Chancellor before he got into bed with Russian energy giant Gazprom. In fact, a large number of ministers from the last Red-Green government took up lobbying jobs after leaving office. The organisation LobbyControl took a close look at Schröder's last cabinet and found out that, out of 63 senior and junior minsters, 12 took up lobby work, most often for companies and federations that worked in their ministerial field of competence.

Our Question is:

"Should ministers be allowed to become lobbyists after leaving government?"

Bezazel Ferhat Ben Rabah, Algeria:

"I am against the idea that ministers are allowed to become lobbyists after leaving government.
We should control how and why they make so much money."

Dietmar Kraus, in the USA, says:

"A five-year ban would be advisable, but only in sectors where politicians carried responsibilty."

Hansjörg Storm, in Norway:

"Bribery is punished under law, and now we have these people becoming corporate servants. That's the worst kind of voter betrayal."

Barbara Manor, Germany says:

"Former politicians should be banned from working as lobbyists for at least two parliamentary terms. By that time, hopefully, the distribution of power will have changed enough to minimise their influence."

Gerhard Seeger, Philippines:

"It will be difficult to find a government that has the will to change things. Too many seem to have their eyes on the same goal."

Peter Czach, in Germany, agrees:

"There's also the question of former government members violating their oath of office when they pledged to stave off harm from the German people. And it's remarkable that state prosecutors didn't investigate the scandalous links that ex-Chancellor Schroeder maintained with the Russian Gazprom energy concern. We need a three-year blocking period!"

Helmut Müller, in India, writes:

"Former politicians should stay away from business for at least two years following their terms in office. But that's how they are, they preach water and drink wine."

Wolfgang Hoebler in Mexico:

"The insight politicians gain in office may be of value for industry, nevertheless a waiting period of at least two years is necessary."

Daniel Ojiambo, Uganda:

"A direct transfer should be forbidden. One might begin to think that politicians make decisions with their future jobs in mind!"

O.J. Sherry, also from Uganda:

"When politicians walk out of office after their term, they should not be allowed to join business immediately, because their voters will surely judge the decision they took while in office as based on their future jobs right after retirement."

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