Opposition Demands Amendment of Election Funding Rule
20 January, 2011
Opposition Demands Amendment of Election Funding Rule

‘Funding of parties and voluntary contributions to the election fund should be doubled’

The group working on the improvement of election environment, which comprises representatives of several opposition parties, comes forward with a new initiative to change the rule of funding of elections. They believe the budget should fund the election period as a whole. The Authorities have not commented on the initiative yet.
In principle, the wait-and-see policy of the Authorities is no surprise because since the start of the

work on the improvement of the election environment, the Authorities vehemently stay clear of commenting any proposal coming from the group.
Let us recall that the work on the improvement of the election environment was broken down in three stages by the involved political parties themselves. The first stage was seen as a point of congruence for interested political parties to present their visions on the matter. This stage is over by now. Notably, proposals came from opposition parties only. Basically, it was a so called ‘Opposition-8’.
The first stage wobbled away almost without a single Governmental remark on any issue of ongoing discussion. It is hard to say whether this attitude of the Authorities reflects their intention not to allow changes to these issues. The opposition hopes that the Authorities would have no other way but to consent to the changes willingly or unwillingly in the face of unwavering demands of international organizations for the improvement of election environment.
In the opinion of political opposition, election campaigns should be funded from the budget to a degree. This view is shared by almost every political group involved. In contrast, the Authorities do not have any opinion at all; they say that they would present their views during the discussion stage.
Regarding the ceiling figures for election funding, the ‘Opposition-8’ believes that no more than USD 5 million will be enough for that. In addition, any party wishing to participate in the elections, should be able to secure credits with a guarantee that the credit would be partially covered from the Governmental coffers after the formal release of final election results.
The opposition also claims that the Authorities use businesses extensively and that businesses fund only the Governmental parties or candidates during the elections. That is why the ‘Opposition-8’ demands that no company should be allowed to chunk out money to the Governmental election anytime during the election year if it has won any state tender that year and if the total value of the tender agreement exceeds 200 thousand Lari. In case of extraordinary elections, such prohibition of financial contribution should apply to the period starting from the announcement of elections till the release of final election results.
Finally, ‘Opposition-8’ demands doubling of funding thresholds for the political parties and ceiling for the contributions to the election funds in the elections year.
It seems the issue of finding funds for election campaigns is quite acute in modern Georgia. It is further aggravated by the fact that the private sector shuns to give out money to the opposition, funding only the Governmental parties. There is no surprise that the opposition raised its voice against such allegedly mock practice. The main argument of the opposition provides for blocking of such illegal money from interfering in the election process.

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