Balcerowicz founds NGO to monitor politicians

One of Poland’s best-known political and financial leaders has founded an organization aimed at improving democracy in the nation through educational programs and a research center designed to monitor the activities of Polish politicians.

Leszek Balcerowicz, an economist, former deputy prime minister, finance minister in the first non-Communist governments of Poland and a former chairman of the National Bank of Poland, has founded a non-governmental organization called “Forum for a Civil Development.”

The organization will aim to improve the quality of Polish democracy, its founder said. He would like to “spur the citizens to make a greater effort in development of civil society.

“The forum will provide special educational programs to reach the organization’s goals – popularizing democratic values, according to Balcerowicz. It is already preparing an effort in cooperation with other non-governmental organizations encouraging Poles to vote.

Balcerowicz said he doesn’t want a return to politics after the early elections, which are going to be held in October. The organization he is going to run is not a political party. But as an independent research center it will monitor and evaluate every new idea and decision of Polish authorities.

As Balcerowicz stressed, making important decisions should be based on knowledge, and not on a demagogy or populism. That’s why he would like to monitor the activities of Polish politicians.

Among members of the management board of the Forum are prominent lawyers and economists or former activists of European organizations and institutions. The Program Committee of Forum is supported by such leaders as Andrzej Zoll, former Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection; Dariusz Filar, professor of economics, and former president of the Constitutional Tribunal; Marek Safjan, president of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights; Marek Antoni Nowicki, professor of history; Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, former Auschwitz inmate and foreign minister; and Norman Davies, professor of history.

The forum will become operational in October 2007. It will be modeled on such institutions as CATO, Heritage and Brookings institutions in the U.S. and the Institute of Economic Affairs in Great Britain.

Balcerowicz is best known for implementing the Polish economic transformation program, commonly known as “shock therapy,” in the 1990s after the fall of the Communist regime. He was awarded the country’s highest decoration, the Order of the White Eagle, for his contribution to Poland’s transformation.

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