CSOs call on President to veto amendments to the law on party financing

CSOs call on President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi to veto and return to the Verkhovna Rada for revision of the adopted Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties in Ukraine” to Improve the Legal Regulation of Financing Activities of Political Parties” (draft law 5253-1).

Despite the fact that the law contains positive innovations, some of its provisions create preconditions for non-transparency of party finances and bribery of voters.

First of all, the law does not allow fully resume reporting of parties, which was suspended by the law in spring 2020 due to the pandemic of Covid-19.

As the result, society is not aware of funding of parties and their donors. Moreover, parliamentary parties, receiving significant amount of public funding, do not inform citizens about expenditures of such budget funds. In 2020-2021, parliamentary parties received almost 1.5 billion UAH from taxpayers, but how they were spent remains a mystery.

Another provision supported by Members of Parliament allows parties to report not on all financial obligations, but only on the deadline for their fulfillment and whether the party has not fulfilled them. In this way, parties will be able to explain their hidden expenditures by such “financial obligations”, which will not be reported indefinitely, as civil law does not even allow to determine the term of obligations and repayment, such as loans.

Another norm allows not to consider contributions in favour of parties distribution by third parties on behalf of the party, or under the party brand of works, goods or services that are needed to counter Covid-19 for the duration of the quarantine. This provision borders on the legalization of bribery of voters and allows parties not to reflect such contributions and expenses in party reporting while circumventing the statutory limits on contributions by one person during the year.

Transparency in financing of political parties is one of the main preconditions for limiting the influence of oligarchs and private interests on political parties. Therefore, we call on President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi to veto the adopted Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties in Ukraine” to Improve the Legal Regulation of Financing Activities of Political Parties” and return it to the Verkhovna Rada with proposals. Namely:

  1. full resumption of reporting by political parties;
  2. exclusion from the law of amendments related to reporting by parties on financial obligations;
  3. exclusion of the provision, which allows unlimited “covid” contributions in favor of parties (or limitation of its validity by the period before entry into force of this law).

You can join the signatories by specifying the name of organization/initiative here.

Signatories:

  1. CHESNO Movement
  2. The Anti-Corruption Action Center
  3. Civil network OPORA
  4. Slidstvo.Info
  5. Bihus.Info
  6. Center for Political and Legal Reforms
  7. All-Ukrainian Association Automaydan
  8. Anti-Corruption Headquarters
  9. StateWatch
  10. OpenUp: open for everything
  11. Center for Journalistic Investigations Syla Pravdy
  12. Center for Socio-Political Research and Public Initiatives STATUM
  13. Committee of Voters of Ukraine
  14. Transparency International Ukraine
  15. Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC)
  16. Institute of Legislative Ideas
  17. Sud na Doloni
  18. Ecosmart
  19. Center for Economic Strategy
  20. Detector Media
  21. Center for Political Studies
  22. Khmelnytskyi initiative
  23. Bureau of Social and Political Development
  24. Smart Media
  25. Joint Action Center
  26. Access to truth
  27. Human rights platform
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