Reform of party financing proposed
The three parties of the ruling coalition have joined forces with New Slovenia (NSi), an opposition party, to change the rules governing state financing of political parties so that larger parties would get more money.
Slovenian campaign finance rules prohibit corporate donations and parties rely instead on funds from the national budget and municipal budgets for the bulk of their funding. This is not supposed to change.
But under proposed changes to the Political Parties Act unveiled on 12 June, a system adopted ten years go under which 25% of the funds intended for political parties is divided among the parties that have won at least 1% of the vote in an election and the rest proportionally according to the election result would be reformed.
Instead, only 10% of the money would be equally distributed among all parties and 90% proportionally according to the election result, which would benefit larger parties.
The system introduced ten years ago "made it easier to assert the constitutional right to political assembly and allowed non-parliamentary parties to continue functioning after elections, but it has made it more difficult for the most successful parliamentary parties to operate," the proposal says.
Another proposed change refers to the financing of deputy groups in parliament. Under the current rules, a party can get up to 50% of state funding to finance the cost of deputy groups such as advisers, which would now be raised to 70%.
The current bulk financing would be changed to regular, monthly payments, which could be adjusted during the year.
The four parties say these changes are based on recommendations from the Court of Audit.
Borut Sajovic, deputy group leader of the Freedom Movement, said one of the goals was to ensure a more stable financing of both parties that are in parliament and those that are not, and to address the problems that have been raised by the Court of Audit.
The changes also increase the lowest possible fines for most violations and scrap the provision under which those breaking certain laws may be stripped of the right to be funded from the national or local communities' budgets.
Under the proposal, only parties that annually receive or are eligible for at least €100,000 in funds from the national budget or local budgets would be subject to a mandatory audit by the Court of Audit.
This means the court would be able to conduct more audits of parties that receive more state funding in four years. "Such an arrangement would also enable the Court of Audit to decide and conduct targeted audits of parties where risks have been detected," the proponents said.