THE ETHICS OF A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AS A POLITICIAN: A COMPARATIVE STUDY
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Apart from the entirely legal professions, there exist quasi-legal professions. They are performed by people who do not necessarily have legal academic education, but their subject includes the making, application and execution of law. Among them are undoubtedly, inter alia, the professions of a politician, parliamentarian, lobbyist, policeman, soldier, clergyman and ombudsman, who is in Poland called a commissioner for citizens rights. Due to key importance of law for regulation and arrangement of social relations, all these professions are so important that their ethical status (or professional ethics) should be regulated along with their legal status. A politician has broader range of activities than others. His position may be either partisan or non-partisan, parliamentary or non-parliamentary, incumbent or non-incumbent, lobbyist or non-lobbyist and he may hold an office of ombudsman or not. When characterising the ethics of a politician we also describe, to some extent, ethics of other above-mentioned professions. The ethics of a soldier and the ethics of a policeman reflect, in a typical way, specific nature of the professions consisting in faithful, accurate and literal application of the law. For these reasons, the ethics of a politician is at the same time an independent ethics for a professional politician and the background for ethics of representatives of other professions contributing in creation of public ethics. Most professional politicians, sit in parliament for at least one term, therefore they are called parliamentarians. A parliamentarian, in the performance of his or her duties, is under obligation in relation to many different persons, which results in moral dilemmas caused by conflicts of interests. Various group may consider him or her as a representative of interest: of the public, of the whole electorate of his or her constituency, of those who voted for him or her, of all members of his or her own party or those who are not members of a political party, of the party leadership, his or her professional community, municipality, district, county or region, a particular group of pressure, or his or her own personal interest. According all known regulations of the ethics of a politician, he or she should be able to distinguish public interests from private ones and should always put common good before private benefits. He or she should be driven by lawfulness and do not yield to corruption, venality, nepotism, clientelism and addiction to lobbyists. He or she should also show independence, veracity, honesty, diligence and accountability. The existing regulations of the ethics of a parliamentarian take two main forms: parliamentary codes of conduct and parliamentary ethics. The former are given a legal nature and the latter the ethical one.
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