Political parties forced to disclose way they spend party subsidies

Political parties are forced to disclose data on the way they spend party subsidies. The law concerning access to information of public interest has been amended and now covers political parties too. Sports federations and NGOs that use public funds will also have to respond to disclosure requests.

Politicians agree with the law’s new form, promulgated by President Klaus Iohannis last week.

“Placing hurdles in the path of finding out the truth, I find that to be something not right. After all, everything has to be very transparent, the citizen should have no kind of suspicion that public funds are being used in who knows what kind of obscure actions,” Lower Chamber lawmaker Catalin Radulescu (PSD) told Digi24.

“It’s clear for everyone that parties should no longer hide their activity or budget. It’s a great advantage for politicians because in this way they can prove that what is being said about them, what is being said about the non-transparency and obscurity of some of their activities within political parties, is not true,” Lower Chamber lawmaker Ionut Stroe (PNL) said in his turn too.

The amendment to the law has been well received by specialists too.

“From the very start, political parties are organisations of public interest, they receive party subsidies and for a long period of time they also received entire assets, I’m talking about headquarter buildings, infrastructure and so on. Parties opening up more toward society is a positive thing,” political analyst Andrei Taranu said.

On the other hand, some NGOs warn that there will still be problems. Since the institutions’ refusal to comply with information requests can be solved only in court, very many citizens are deterred.

“I’ll offer an example of what is done in some countries. There is an administrative institution, a kind of board, that analyses this kind of situations and issues verdicts. A much simpler procedure; very many citizens and even NGOs avoid going to court because it’s an unfamiliar place,” said Ovidiu Voicu, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Innovation.

The amendment to the law was signed by 44 PNL and UDMR MPs.

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