Prague, Sept 23 (CTK) – The financing of political campaigns ahead of the Czech general elections is subject to scrutiny, but parties running in local elections do not have to release their sponsors due to insufficient legislation, daily Pravo writes Friday.
Analyst Vit Simral, from the Reconstruction of the State anti-corruption project, said it is rather common that political groupings do not include the payments of their advertising and other parts of their campaigns before local elections in their financial reports.
“It is not illegal,” Simral said.
It is unclear who paid the campaigns of many groupings running in the 2014 local elections, such as the Movement for Prague 11, Zlin Movement of Independents, Mesto lidem, the paper writes.
For example, Movement for Prague 11 (Hnuti pro Prahu 11) had a relatively big campaign, but its financial report says it paid merely 22,000 crowns for it. The movement had eight billboards, advertising on 40 benches, it issued a magazine and organised meetings with citizens at which it distributed promotion items for free, the paper writes.
The movement’s head Jiri Styler said the financial report included only the costs that were covered from the membership fees.
Styler said the rest, about 300,000 crowns, was paid by individuals or groups of supporters and it was not included in the accounting.
The movement’s financial report was verified by a certified auditor and then approved by the Chamber of Deputies and its controlling committee.
Controlling committee head Vladimir Konicek (Communists, KSCM) said the committee only checks whether a report is complete and is verified by an auditor.
The annual financial report of the Movement for Prague 11 met all the requirements, he said.
As of next year, a new law on the financing of political parties that introduces caps for election campaigns is likely to take effect.
But the new amendment to the law on political parties does not apply to local elections, including the elections in Prague and other cities, political scientist Petr Vymetal told Pravo.
This is the biggest weak point of this law, Vymetal said.