Vol. 4 No.2  

Party financing under new scrutiny

Will a new watchdog to monitor the donations to political parties be all bark and no bite? asks Ana-Maria Nitoi
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No democracy has a system where the financing of political parties is one hundred per cent transparent and Romania is no different.
The country’s flexible system of laws and the lack of effort in bringing corrupt individuals to justice has allowed anyone to finance parties with little scrutiny.
But there is new legislation in place that attempts to improve transparency. In the local elections this May, the elections will be organised by the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), an independent institution controlled by Parliament. AEP is also responsible for regulating Romanian political parties’ incomes and expenditures.
But don’t expect the exposure of huge scandals.
“This election year I don’t believe the AEP will be able to ensure an efficient supervision over the financial activity of the parties,” political analyst Cristian Parvulescu from NGO Asociatia Pro Democratia (APD) tells The Diplomat. “This is because the people working for this institution don’t have the necessary investigatory experience and will rely on information given by the parties.”
Laws regulating the financing of parties change every couple of years, under pressure from pro-transparency NGOs like the Institute for Public Policies (IPP) and APD.
“In the near future things will start moving on the right track,” says IPP deputy director Adrian Moraru. “The politicians will only have to not insult our intelligence by not being so obvious when they handle black money.”

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