Ukrainian parties cagey about funding


  Ukrainian parties have to fill out annual income declarations but when and where these are published is up to them, and what they report is also scarcely regulated

OPORA has slammed the lack of transparency in the financial reports for 2012 so far filed by four out of the five parties in parliament.  It is calling for a change in legislation on financing of political parties.

The parties’ income as per their declarations:

The Party of the Regions                325 million UAH

Batkivshchyna                                  114 million UAH

Communist Party                             112 million UAH

VO Svoboda                                    27 million UAH

UDAR has said it will publish its report in the middle of April.

The Head of OPORA, Olha Aivazovska, explains that financial reports need to be published in national publications on an annual basis, but that the Law on Political Parties does not stipulate which media or when.  She says that this looseness is used to parties’ benefit. .

To read the Communist Party and VO Svoboda reports, you have to look for the relevant party newspapers, while Batkivshchyna published theirs in an issue of the newspaper Vechirni visti.  The Party of the Regions printed their report in a the central authorities’ newspaper Uryadovy Kuryer, but in the section “Advertisements. Announcements”.

The Law is not specific either about what the format of the information should take and parties can therefore get away with not specifying how much they received and from whom.

Only around 10% of income comes from membership fees.

As for how the money is spent, people in the Party of the Regions and Batkivshchyna both say that it goes on paying for local offices, equipment and campaign activities.

The Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service says that party members are reluctant to talk about why they pay membership fees and agree to do so only on condition that their names are not given.   The two people quoted as being from the Party of the Regions and Batkivshchyna speak of nominal amounts, no compulsion, etc.

Kharkiv political analyst Valery Dudko believes that the whole system needs to be reformed, and that it would be best if the State provided each party with the same amount, and they campaigned on an equal footing.

He provides no detail as to how this could be achieved.

OPORA also believes that the system needs to be changed, but does not see the political will for it. 

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