THE REPORTS on spending by presidential candidates on their pre-election campaigns have revealed some financial ambiguities. In particular, the acknowledged expenses of independent candidate Radoslav Procházka have been questioned by several experts, the Sme daily reported in its May 2 issue.

According to the law, the candidates can spend no more than €132,775 including VAT during the official campaign, and they must register any gifts they receive for their promotion. A candidate who exceeds the limit will be fined by the Finance Ministry an amount equalling 10 times what he or she spent over the limit. Those who do not submit a campaign spending report will be fined up to €66,387, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Finance Ministry informed on April 30 that all presidential candidates except for one have handed in their campaign spending reports. According to the law they must do so within 30 days after the election.

The ministry has not specified the sums yet. None of the measures in the presidential election law require the candidates or the ministry to publish such reports, the press department of the Finance Ministry told SITA.

Sme addressed the top four candidates who received the highest number of votes. Only PM Robert Fico did not provide the daily with the report. The party claims it paid every expense, and that the amounts will be published in an annual report, as reported by Sme.

Independent candidate and winner of the election Andrej Kiska acknowledged having spent nearly €1.1 million for the whole campaign. He had been campaigning for about two years.

Zuzana Wienk from the Fair-Play Alliance and Grigorij Mesežnikov from the Institute for Public Affairs consider Kiska’s account the most realistic.

“He was paying it himself and does not have any reason to hide something,” Wienk told Sme.

Procházka, who received the third highest number of votes, acknowledged spending €250,000, of which half was spent during the official campaign. His campaign started last summer. Head of the Transparency International Slovensko Gabriel Šípoš however considers that amount to be too low, as reported by Sme.

While Procházka’s election team claims to have spent €87,500 on billboards, Kiska spent about €0.5 million. Martin Dubéci, head of Procházka’s campaign, explained the difference by saying that Kiska’s campaign was longer and more expensive.

“Regarding the tools used and their quality, I do not consider them disproportionate,” he told Sme.

Source: Sme, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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