GLPS held a Press Conference on the Financing of Political Parties in Kosovo: main problems undermining transparency and integrity of party funding during electoral processes

January 16, 2021

On January 16, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) organized a Press Conference on the topic: “Financing of political parties in Kosovo: What are the main problems that are undermining the transparency and integrity of funding during electoral processes”, held in Prishtina. Nearly 1 Million Euro is the financial amount allowed to political parties running in the February 14 election to spend on the election campaign. Based on the experiences from the election campaigns since the post-war period, most of the political parties have consistently kept secret the exact amount of expenses, the sources of financing the election campaign, as well as have exceeded the amount set by the Central Election Commission. Given this, GLPS finds it fundamental to compile a list of requirements addressed to all political parties in Kosovo, which, among other things, should be fully respected during the election campaign of February 14, 2021.

“According to auditor reports published for 2017, none of the major parties were rated with an unqualified opinion. Respectively, none of them managed to submit the financial statements according to the required accounting standards, did not apply procurement procedures for all purchases and did not submit supporting documentation for high cost values.” said Njomza Arifi, the Programme Manager at GLPS. “This is in violation to the legal provisions in the country. Adherence to tendering procedures would enable a more efficient, economical, transparent, and fair use of political party funds”, she concluded.

As for the general elections of October 6, 2019, unfortunately, the auditor’s reports are absent since the Commission for Public Finance Oversight failed to select one. However, in the unaudited financial reports published by the CEC, in the lists of names of donors, except for party members and some individuals, businesses are not listed as donors. The relationship between the donor and the political party during the election campaign must be respected according to the legislation in force and should be available for the public. Considering all of the above, such an approach by political parties damages the image of Kosovo in the international arena. We recall that the latest report of the European Commission has expressed concerns about the state of financing of political parties in Kosovo, and has called for increased transparency in this regard.

Against this background, these are the recommendations of GLPS:

•GLPS calls on political parties to make transparent their spending during the election campaign, publishing in a timely manner all revenues and expenditures in a way that they are accessible to every citizen.

• Political parties should publish the list of all donors and the amounts donated for their activities in order to prevent possible corruption scandals between political parties and their donors, especially during the public tendering process. Therefore, all donations from which the donor can clearly benefit from any economic advantage should be avoided. All donations should include name, surname and registration number for legal entities; and name, surname and address of natural entities;

• Political parties should remain within the financial limits set by the CEC;

• Each political party must authorize a financial officer who is responsible for reporting the spending funds, submitting the final report of funds spent, and preparing the financial report of the election campaign. This financial officer and the chairperson of the political entity are legally responsible for the accuracy of all information that must be submitted to the CEC. Also, every political entity must have receipts for all expenses that exceed the amount of one hundred euros (100 €);

• Financial reports on election campaign expenditures should include those from their branches and constituent parts, for the period beginning ninety (90) days before the election and ending on Election Day. The financial report should be submitted no later than forty five (45) days after election day;

• We also call the CEC, based on the legal powers regulated by the Law on General Elections and the regulations on the financing of political parties and sanctions, to impose fines on political parties that do not submit financial reports.

“GLPS calls on political parties to respect the Law on Financing of Political Entities and to make public their financial reports without the need for any external pressure”, concluded Lirika Agusholli from GLPS. The way of financing political parties in this process is essential for the integrity of the electoral process; therefore, financial transparency is a democratic element that every citizen of Kosovo should be informed about.

Venue: Hotel Sirius, Str. Agim Ramadani, 10000 Prishtina, Kosovo.

This activity was organized within the framework of the project titled: “Political Party Financing Transparency: Special emphasis on the Electoral Reform Process”, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views expressed in this conference are those of the Group for Legal and Political Studies and do not reflect those of the donor.

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