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IN SHORT

Finance reforms head to parliament

VOTERS have a right to know who sponsors political parties before parliamentary elections, and politicians must divulge their commitments to those sponsors before elections, according to a campaign finance proposal heading for parliament.

If the proposal is passed into law, political parties will have to publish a preliminary report revealing the amount of money received as gifts. They also will be requested to supply the names of donors, the daily Pravda has reported.

Under current legislation, political parties are required to publish annual financing reports at the end of June each year. Advocates for campaign finance reform say that existing rules do little to control political financing. They want more transparency in the process.

"Political parties' accounts should be totally open to the public so that people can be sure that a politician is free from bias," said Milan Galanda, a lawyer working on finance reform. He also said that privacy is not a sufficient argument against reform.

Some say the new campaign finance proposal does not go far enough to protect voters against corruption. As written, the reform does not compel parties to disclose the names of its sponsors if they object.

Apart from the obligation to reveal gifted sums, the proposal aims to double election campaign spending from Sk12 million (€290,000) to Sk25 million (€600,000).

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