The Slovenia Times

Larger parties looking at more state funding

MPs in session.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

The parties that win the largest proportion of the vote will get substantially more in state funding than so far, while the smallest ones stand to lose the most under changed rules to party financing passed by the National Assembly on 6 July.

The amendments to the Political Parties Act reform a system adopted ten years ago 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.

Now only 10% of the money will be equally distributed among all parties and 90% proportionally according to the election result.

Up until now a party was able to win up to 50% of state funding to finance the cost of deputy groups such as advisers, which will be raised to 70% under the amendments, which were tabled and endorsed by the three coalition parties and the New Slovenia (NSi).

The Democrats (SDS) abstained because an amendment tabled by the opposition that would lift the ban on corporate donations was voted down.

Gains for big ones, losses for small

The Freedom Movement, which won 34.45% of the vote in the 2022 election to secure 41 seats in the 90-member assembly, is eligible for €942,614 in state funding this year, which includes the money secured by two smaller parties that did not make the parliamentary threshold but later merged with Freedom Movement.

Based on the changed funding rules, which will apply from 2024, the party would get roughly €80,000 more compared to this year's figure, but the the budget funding for parties is to increase next year, so the figure will be higher.

In addition the party's deputy faction is eligible for €1.16 million.

The SDS as the second largest party is now eligible for €509,624, and would get €65,000 more if the new rules applied this year. Its deputy group is eligible for a further €766,823.

However, the smallest parties stand to lose the most. Vesna, a green non-parliamentary party, for example, is eligible for just below €72,000 this year. If the new rules already applied this year it would get €20,000 less.

The current bulk financing will be changed to regular, monthly payments.

Fewer but more thorough audits

The new rules also decrease 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.

Only parties that annually receive or are eligible for at least €100,000 in funds from the national budget or local budgets will be subject to a mandatory audit by the Court of Audit.

Most parliamentary parties were in favour of the amendments with the Social Democrats (SD) saying that better working conditions would bring better politicians and NSi welcoming the policy that increases financing for parties' youth chapters.

The four parties that sponsored the changes say these changes are based on recommendations from 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," they said.


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