Politicians spent more on the elections than they officially earn and won’t reveal sources


  On 27 November the civic initiative “Zvidki?” [Where from?) presented the results of monitoring of the financial expenditure of parliamentary candidates. The election watchdog OPORA focused on how much politicians spent on the campaign trail, while the Equal Opportunities Committee analyzed amounts sent on media advertising. Three pilot election districts were chosen as representing the country: 222 - Kyiv; 42 - Donetsk;73  - Transcarpathian oblast.

The monitoring, carried out with the financial support of the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), found that unfortunately financial resources played perhaps the most important role in electoral success.

According to Olha Aivazovska, OPORA Electoral Programme Coordinator success in two of the election districts went to the candidate who spent the most on the field. This was Tetyana Bakhteeva in No. 42 Donetsk; Ivan Bushko in No. 73 in Transcarpathia.  In Kyiv, exceptionally, the victor – Dmytro Andriyevsky – was considered by OPORA observers to have taken second place in terms of amount of money spent. In that election district, the person who they believe spent the most – Maxim Lutsky – only came third. Olha Aivazovska points out that Kyiv is an exception anyway and cannot be considered indicative.  She says that all candidates without any exception spent several times more money than their declared income in 2011. Nor did any of them organize large-scale fundraising campaigns. This makes the source of their resources lacking in transparency and fraught with possibilities for corruption regarding prospects as MPs. She adds that campaign funding for all candidates and parties remains in the shadow realm.

She and her colleagues believe that this trend will continue until election campaign funding is regulated in law. What is needed most of all is clear responsibility for financial transparency of the election campaign. At oresent candidates do not bear any liability for false information about expenditure on the elections given in summary declarations to the Central Election Commission. On the one hand election checks of bank payments from the election fund cannot guarantee truthful information, on the other – no liability is envisaged for infringing the rules on funding.

Spending in 2012 on media advertising may have been the highest ever according to the monitoring carried out by the Equal Opportunities Committee. During the period from 20 August to 28 October the overall amount spent on advertising in the printed press in the three election districts reached over 185 thousnd UAH. Nor does this figure cover the considerable amounts spent on covert advertising, i.e. “dzynsa” or supposed news items in fact commissioned and effectively constituting campaigning material.  The Committee estimates that this constituted just over 222 thousand UAH.  The figures on TV were even higher. (half a million just for formal advertising), Oleksandr Chekmyshev, Head of the Equal Opportunities Committee explained. 

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