The Lower Chamber adopted on Wednesday the draft law on the financing of political parties. The document stipulates that the financing of election campaigns should come from state budget and allows parties to contract loans from physical and juridical persons, but only through authentic documents. The law was adopted with 262 votes in favour, 8 against and 20 abstentions, Mediafax informs.
MP Mihai Voicu: “It will lead to better, more efficient Parliament”
PNL MP Mihai Voicu, Chairman of the Electoral Code Commission, the commission that drafted the project, stated that the law plans to completely break the financing link between a candidate and persons that support the election campaign in exchange for economic benefits.
“Removing the pressure of financing the parties and candidates will lead to a better, more efficient Parliament,” Mihai Voicu said.
MP Tudor Ciuhodaru however criticized the draft, pointing out that it is “hypocritical” and election campaigns will continue to be financed illegally.
PSD MP Mircea Draghici, the initiator of the draft law which was modified within the Electoral Code Commission, pointed out that the draft included the observations made by the GRECO group, the Justice Ministry and the Permanent Electoral Authority. “The initiative entails the financing of future election campaigns exclusively from the state, thus lowering excessive expenses in election campaigns and deterring corruption; thus, the candidates will cover their campaign expenses, and the state will reimburse the money. Of course this reimbursement will take into account a certain cap on campaign expenses and the candidate surpassing a certain electoral score in order to receive the money. The money received by candidates will cover solely certain types of expenses: electoral advertisement on television, radio, written press, online, polls, fliers and brochures. The distribution of goods bearing electoral marks – such as pens, lighters, t-shirts, scarves, buckets and so on – will be banned. Basically the emphasis will be put on informing the population about the candidates and their political programs. The donations received by candidates will be used exclusively for the payment of expenses incurred during the campaign up to the expiration of the deadline on filing the revenues and expenses report,” Draghici explained, being quoted by Digi24.
Clearly stipulated reimbursement procedure
The law regulates the way in which political parties can obtain loans and the loans will be published in the Official Gazette.
Thus, political parties can borrow money from physical and juridical persons, according to the law on the financing of political parties and election campaigns.
The law allows parties to contract loans from physical and juridical persons but only through authentic and legalized documents accompanied by receipt documents, the contract stipulating the way in which the loan is to be paid back and the deadline for that process.
The law also stipulates that loans higher than 100 gross minimum salaries will be subjected to advertisement conditions.
The law bans parties, political or electoral alliances and independent candidates from offering loans to physical persons.
The law also stipulates that the sums loaned to a political party in a fiscal year cannot surpass 0.025 per cent of state budget revenues for that year.
The money loaned to a political party by a physical person in a year can go up to 200 gross minimum salaries calculated at the value they had on January 1of that year.
The money loaned to a political party by a juridical person in a year can go up to 500 gross minimum salaries calculated at the value they had on January 1 of that year.
Another provision concerns the fact that cash donations whose value surpasses 10 gross minimum salaries will be made only through bank accounts.
Political parties will have the obligation to publish in the Official Gazette the list of physical and juridical persons that in the previous year made donations whose cumulated value surpasses 10 gross minimum salaries, the list of physical and juridical persons that offered loans whose value surpasses 100 gross minimum salaries, as well as the total sum of confidential donations, namely the total sum of loans whose value was below 100 gross minimum salaries received by April 30 the following year.
The draft law had been previously rejected by the Senate but was modified and approved by the Electoral Code Commission. The Lower Chamber was the decisional Chamber.
MEP Cristian Preda asks for public debate
MEP Cristian Preda has asked President Klaus Iohannis not to promulgate the party financing law adopted by the Lower Chamber on Wednesday. The PMP MP argued that “the sums allowed for campaign are still huge in relation to living standards in Romania and their reimbursement from the budget will represent a reckless waste of public money.” The second reason would be that “the donation control mechanisms do not allow the limiting of corruption, the rule of law continuing to be exposed to danger even by the text of the law, a text that was fabricated by parties that formed a cartel against austere political ethics.” Last but not least, the MEP asks for a public debate on the amendments brought to the law.