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TIS: Political parties failed to fulfil promises to tighten controls on their own financing

“None of the parliamentary parties which promised to make their financing more transparent and toughen the control of party activities managed to fulfil their promise,” Gabriel Šípoš, head of Transparency International Slovensko, said at a press conference on Thursday, April 4. “For me, this is a confirmation of the fact that politicians are not fully equal to other citizens, that they are something above the law,” he added, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

“None of the parliamentary parties which promised to make their financing more transparent and toughen the control of party activities managed to fulfil their promise,” Gabriel Šípoš, head of Transparency International Slovensko, said at a press conference on Thursday, April 4. “For me, this is a confirmation of the fact that politicians are not fully equal to other citizens, that they are something above the law,” he added, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

He added that politicians on the one hand call on people to pay taxes and fight tax fraud, but on the other hand sign something that they fail to meet – without any consequences. Head of the Slovak Governance Institute, Ctibor Košťál, noted that in the next two years Slovakia will see four elections: for regional governments; for the presidency; for the European Parliament; and for municipal councils. “One year of inactivity means that in all probability the regional and presidential election will be held without the public being sufficiently informed about the background of candidates’ financing.

Before the 2012 general election, parties pledged to make the rules of party financing tougher within one year. The ruling Smer party signed up to the pledge, as did the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Most-Híd, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), the Hungarian Community Party (SMK) and 99 Percent – Civic Voice. If they had fulfilled their promise, control of incomes and expenses of political parties would have been shifted from the Slovak Parliament and the Finance Ministry to an impartial audit body which would have required both parties and candidates to declare incomes and expenditure – including for local elections. The parties would also toughen oversight over political expenses incurred by third parties, increase sanctions for violations of the law and enhance the accuracy of property returns.

Šípoš opined, as quoted by SITA, that the step by independent MPs Daniel Lipšic and Jana Žitňanská, who in November 2012 filed a proposal to declare services received free of charge and to link state subsidies for parties to private donations, represented a partial fulfilment of the pre-election pledge. However, it was rejected by parliament.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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