New law introduces membership regulations for political parties

The amendment passed in parliament also bans use of an individual’s name in the names of parties and sets the minimum number of members.

Slovak parliament, illustrative stock photoSlovak parliament, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Political parties will operate under limits regulating the minimum number of their members as well as their governance, as the parliament approved the amendment to the Act on Political Parties, with 78 votes on October 15.

The new legislation, elaborated by junior coalition Slovak National Party (SNS), will determine the mandatory size of membership base for parties running in the general election or the European Parliament election, the TASR newswire wrote.

New rules

Under the new change, if there are 150 candidates on its slate, a party must have at least 300 members.

Moreover, the amendment is designed to prevent the purchase of political parties and also introduces sterner rules on receiving financial gifts. Parties will not be available for buying anymore. Political parties can only accept financial gifts under €300,000 from a single donor within one year.

The change involves loans as well: parties are obliged to publish on their websites data on loans accepted, including information on who's providing the loan. They should do so within 30 days of the loan's conclusion.

Each party should also open a payment account at the State Treasury to which financial contributions from the state will be sent. The account’s number should be announced to the Finance Ministry and state committee, and it should be published on the internet. This account should not be the same, however, as the transparent account opened for elections.

No individual’s name

Another novelty is that the name of the political party or its abbreviation must not contain the name or surname of an individual who is either a statutory body, member of the statutory body or a preparation committee member.

Hence, the provision affects the opposition far-right Kotleba-People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) and Sme Rodina / We Are Family-Boris Kollár parties, TASR pointed out.

Also, founding party members and programme drafters whose political party is disbanded over the programme (by courts) will be banned for the next five years from serving as “members of preparation committee for any other political party, statutory body or members of statutory body; members of the top, executive, arbitral and supervisory body of any other political party.” They will be fined €3,500 if they fail to comply.

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