19th October 2017

Radio Praha: Czech parties subject to stepped up election spending scrutiny

New rules apply to the Czech elections to the lower house of parliament for the first time limiting parties budgets’ and making them declare funding and spending flows. But while it’s a step in the right direction, some flaws are still seen in the overall framework, Radio Praha writes.

...Czech parliamentary elections taking place on October 20 and 21 are governed for the first time by new rules setting out spending ceilings for parties and individual candidates. They are also forced to disclose some details of their funding and spending. And, anyone funding a party or candidate, a so- called third person, should come clean by registering themselves and also limited their spending. A new body to oversee the parties and their spending has been up and running since the start of the year. 

The new rules have opened up the way for bodies such an anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, to try and get to grips with the cash flow and spending for Czech elections this time round. It’s also helped it rank how open the various political parties actually are about their financing and spending. 

Director of the Czech branch, David Ondráčka, is upbeat about the impact of the new rules on the political environment: 

"I see positive progress recently. The level of disclosure of political parties has improved. We see that parties are voluntarily disclosing information about campaigns beyond their legal duties. And the aim of such monitoring is actually to force them into being competitive about who is being more open and who is trying to avoid any potential criticisms for non-transparency. 

"However, we see a lot of corporate interests in the elections and there are parties that are connected to large companies and financial interests and it’s not easy to understand whether part of the campaign is not financed through other channels, through third parties or other actors." 

Ondráčka says the new rules appear to have forced political parties to think twice about their funding and spending: 


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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic