In its year of implementation, the Act on Financing Political Activities and Electoral Campaigns has proven to be solid, but there is still room for improvement. This is the overall conclusion of the roundtable discussion „How to Make Political Financing More Transparent“, which was held in the Croatian Parliament on Friday, 9 March.
The goal of the roundtable was to analyze the first year of implementation of the new Act and to discuss possible improvements. The roundtable was attended by experts from the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and Transparency International, university professors from Zagreb, Belgrade, Lisbon and Maribor, experts in political financing, representatives of supervisory bodies and bodies responsible for election monitoring, NGOs from Croatia and abroad and representatives of political parties, who all contributed to a fruitful discussion.
Different monitoring models of financing political parties were presented: from the countries in the region, new Members States and the founding members of the EU. Different ways of improving Croatian legislation regarding political financing were discussed, including the need for a mandatory audit of financial reports, more detailed reporting on annual party expenditures and stricter implementation of sanctions envisaged by law. A number of shortcomings were identified relating to the election campaigns, including the need for the media to publish price lists for electoral campaign advertising, the improvements related to clearer provisions on the use of a separate bank account for the campaign, banning donations after the election day, introducing a stricter control over the donations received from private persons and redefining the limits of donations in electoral campaigns.
The round table was organised as part of the regional Crinis project, implemented in Croatia by Transparency International Croatia from August 2010 to August 2013, with a view to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the monitoring system of annual financing of political parties and financing of electoral campaigns.
“How to make Financing Political Parties more Comprehensive“
Croatian Parliament, Ivan Mažuranić Room
Zagreb, 9th March 2012
9:30 to 10:00 Registration
10:00 to 10:15 Opening – Opening Remarks
Nikola Kristić, President of Transparency International Croatia
Paulina Stanoeva, Task Manager for Public Finance and Public Administration, Delegation of the EU
Marin Mrčela, President of GRECO
Henrik Ofstad, Ambassador of Norway to Croatia
Arsen Bauk, Minister of Administration
10:15 to 10:30 Regulation of Financing Political Parties
Professor Zdravko Petak, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb
10:30 to 11:00 Recommendations for Better Regulation of Financing Political Parties
Marin Mrčela, President of GRECO
11:00 to 11:15 Regulation of Financing Political Parties in the Region
Professor Vladimir Goati, Transparency Serbia
Irena Hadžiabdić, The Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Radivoje Grujić, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
11:15 to 11:30 Discussion
11:30 to 11:45 Coffee break
11:45 to 12:15 Regulation of Financing Political Parties in the EU
Luis de Sousa, Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon
Christian Humborg, Transparency International Germany
Professor Jurij Toplak, University of Maribor
12:15 to 12:30 Practical Problems in Controlling Financing Political Parties
The State Election Commission of the Republic of Croatia
12:30 to 13:10 Discussion
13:10 to 13:30 Conclusions