No More Corporate Donations for Political Parties

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The changes to the political parties act which were passed in parliament in November also tweak the criteria determining how much money a party get from the national budget.

Under the changes, 25% of funds earmarked for political parties will be divided equally among the parties that have managed to garner at least 1% of the votes at the most recent general election. The rest of the funds will be divided among parties proportionally to the number of votes.

Until now, 10% of the funds earmarked for parties were divided equally among those which have secured at least 1% of the vote, with the rest distributed among them in proportion to their success at the general election.

Moreover, the changes allow parties to get up to a half of the funds they spend on training, administrative help and expert consultations from the national budget.

They also stipulate that any funds acquired by the parties unlawfully must be forwarded to a charity in 30 days.

Also defined are rules on annual reports on funding, which will apply to the 2014 records due in 2015.

The funding reports will no longer be sent to the Court of Audit and the National Assembly, but to the Agency for Public Legal Records (AJPES).

Another novelty is the authority of the Court of Audit to oversee the funding of parties and launch audits.

The changes moreover introduce a six-month or a year-long suspension of budgetary funds for parties found guilty of severe violation of the funding legislation.

Data for 2011 show that many parliamentary parties ended the year in the red.

Moreover, most parties got rather small donations; among the biggest was EUR 14,000 donated to the Social Democrats (SD) by teleshopping company Studio Moderna.