Holding Policy Makers to Account: Monitoring Voting Patterns on Alcohol and Tobacco Policy in the Lithuanian Parliament
Introduction and Aims
Systematic monitoring of the parliamentary legislative processes, including voting of members of the Parliament (MPs) and factions, allows better understanding of the mechanisms for adoption of public health policies. The aim of this paper is to present a tool for monitoring voting on tobacco and alcohol control policies in the Lithuanian Parliament and consequent rating of MPs based on their voting.
Design and Methods
MP rating included the collection of voting data, qualitative assessment of the proposed amendments based on their potentially positive or negative impact on public health, and finally quantitative analysis of voting by applying certain weight coefficients.
Analysis included 159 voting episodes. More than half (60%) of the MPs received low scores in the 2012–2016 Parliament′s term, and only a small proportion (3%) consistently supported evidence‐based alcohol and tobacco control policies. In contrast, only 26.5% MPs received low scores in the 2016–2018 half‐term. Significantly higher scores in the 2016–2018 half‐term reflect increased political support towards evidence‐based public health policies among the new political majority in Lithuania.
Discussion and Conclusions
MP rating has a potential to become a valuable tool used by various stakeholders for more objective assessment of specific public health commitments of political parties and individual politicians.