On 5 March ALDE member party MRF held a conference in Sofia on the topic of open governments and new opportunities for liberal democracies to involve citizens in the decision-making process. Participants in the conference were members of the Central Operational Committee of MRF, MRF’s members of the Bulgarian parliament and members of the European Parliament, mayors and representatives of the local government. A special guest at the forum was former ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson.
In his opening speech, MRF's President Mustafa Karadayi talked about the thesis of the crisis of liberal democracy and political processes: "Globally there is a crisis of liberal democracy and we can talk about a trend in which political activity loses its main function: to serve the public interest and citizens. Democracy retreats from populism and nationalism. Populists and nationalists win elections, enter national parliaments, even in some countries come to power. Bulgaria is no exception. Populism is in vogue when politics and politicians break away from people, and their political agendas often lack important topics for citizens."
The president of MRF emphasised that the purpose of the conference was "to motivate free and active citizens to participate actively in governance."
Sir Graham Watson said: “It is not enough to provide services for people; we must involve them in decisions and empower them to provide for themselves. We must inspire people with hope, not frighten them with fear.”
ALDE party Vice President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP also addressed the participants: “The governments that invite their citizens to actively participate in the decision-making process and policy development will enjoy development and prosperity in the long term.”
Iskra Mihaylova MEP paid attention to the forms of participation of citizens in the decision-making process: "We in MRF decided to change the system and to hear our voters. This is important so that they participate actively in the decision-making process and act as executors too."