Anti-corruption group urges German political reform | News | DW | 21.02.2012
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Anti-corruption group urges German political reform

Following the resignation of Germany's president, anti-corruption organization Transparency International says the country must reform laws governing political donations and codes of conduct for politicians.

Edda Müller, who leads Transparency International in Germany, said laws on bribing politicians should be strengthened and direct donations to parliamentarians be banned.

She said there should be greater regulation of lobbying and that politicians should have an expanded code of conduct regarding invitations, gifts, trips and other gratuities.

Müller also said what was needed in Germany were stricter rules governing party sponsorship and administration, calling for all donations to political parties of more than 2,000 euros to be made public.

Currently, only donations of more than 10,000 euros must be published.

Müller's comments come five days after the resignation of German President Christian Wulff amid ongoing allegations that he had improperly granted or accepted favors.

Wulff had been facing growing pressure since reports first emerged last December that he had failed to declare a private home loan received from the wife of a wealthy businessman friend while he was premier of the northern state of Lower Saxony.

Edda Müller said it was "neither fair nor reasonable" for Germany to pin all its hopes on the man designated to replace Wulff as president, Joachim Gauck. She added that it was more important for the country to initiate a "political integrity" campaign in order to regain citizens' confidence in democracy in Germany and the politicians who represent them.

Gauck was selected to assume the office of German president on Sunday following extensive bargaining between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, their coalition allies the Free Democrats, the opposition Social Democrats and the Greens.

"Integrity must be rooted in politics, economics and society. Germany's parties are now called on to draw conclusions from the Wulff scandal," she said.

dfm/jw (EPD, AP)