24. srpna 2016 | News

Senát schválil nezávislou kontrolu financování politických stran

Senators today passed an amended bill concerning the law on association in political parties. This amendment ushers in several significant novelties regarding the functioning and economic management of political parties in the Czech Republic. From the start of next year, parties shall be obliged to keep transparent accounts and their management shall be subject to a newly established, independent official body; the law also sets limits to the amount of donations a party can accept from a single donor. The amendment to the laws governing election campaigns was newly furnished, by the Senators, with a couple of amending bills and forwarded to the lower house of the parliament, to be debated and voted on by deputies.

“The outcome of today’s vote is big news for the Czech political scene. Rules governing the conduct and financing of political parties have not changed since the early 1990s, in this country. Although the big affairs involving mysterious party sponsors are history now, lack of clarity around party financing, and their hidden support, are still common occurrence even today,” says Jiří Skuhrovec, chairman of the EconLab association and one of the guarantors of the Rekonstrukce Státu (Reconstruction of State) platform, which has included the issue in a set of nine bills it has monitored and scrutinized over a long time.

On this date, the Czech Republic ceased to be one of the five European Union member states that still await the arrival of instruments that independently monitor the financing of political parties. Under the amendment passed today, an independent body, based in Brno, will start work in January to supervise the funding of parties and political campaigns, in which duty it will supplant members of the Lower House Audit Committee, charged with this duty today. The operating costs of the five-member office should be but a fraction of the hundreds of millions of crowns received by the parties from the State.

The bill, which even the foreign experts in this field consider one of the best legislative efforts in this area in recent history, was passed thanks also to a longtime effort exerted by non-profit organizations, experts and involved citizens. “People from the organizations associated in the Rekonstrukce Státu effort, and their sympathizers from the general public have for many years contacted their Deputies and Senators; we have aired our views on the various bills, inspired research projects, and presented our cause to the media and all citizens to consider. Our big thanks go to all those who have supported the big change over years,” says Pavel Franc from the Frank Bold organization, one of the guarantors of Reconstruction of State.

Electoral law amendments which would have ushered e.g. limits to spending on the various types of campaigns, or the compulsory identification of election advertising or the registration of third parties intending to step in the campaign have been returned from the Senate with proposed changes, to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament. The Senate version more specifically renders the content of the proposed amendment as regards the registration of third persons participating in the campaign (this amendment was formulated by the Ministry of the Interior, which drafted the bills). It is therefore expected that the Lower House will pass the Senate version of the bill.

The Lower House might vote on the amendments to election Laws at its October session.

For detailed information please refer to:

Rekonstrukce Státu Info on Bills:

http://www.w.rekonstrukcestatu.cz/na-stazeni/rest_infolist-ppf-srpen2016_tisk.pdf

P. Franc’s and V. Šmiral’s blog:

http://franc.blog.ihned.cz/c1-65403930-den-d-pro-pruhlednejsi-kampane-se-blizi   

Outcomes of MEDIAN agency’s June research of the factors impacting the voters’ views on the credibility of political parties:

http://www.rekonstrukcestatu.cz/cs/archiv-novinek/9803-vyzkum-median-duvera-pro-politicke-strany-zavisi-hlavne-na-pruhlednem-financovani  

Research: Up to a third of parties’ real spending on regional campaigns never appears in the parties’ books

http://www.w.rekonstrukcestatu.cz/cs/archiv-novinek/10190-vyzkum-az-tretina-realnych-nakladu-politickych-stran-na-krajske-volby-se-nedostane-do-oficialniho-ucetnictvi-stran

More Info from:

Václav Zeman, Rekonstrukce Státu

tel.: 734 202 656

mail: vaclav.zeman@frankbold.org