Senior Political Finance Adviser Magnus Ohman Discusses the State of Political Finance Reform in Ukraine

Publication Date: 
26 Feb 2018

On February 20, 2018, the Vybory Vybory project, initiated and managed by Center UA and Ukrajinska Pravda, published an interview with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Senior Political Finance Adviser Dr. Magnus Ohman. In the interview, Dr. Ohman discussed electoral campaign funding regulation as well as the importance of political finance transparency and oversight in different countries and its implications for Ukraine.

He outlined how in most European countries, political parties receive more of their funding from the state than from individual donations, and highlighted the need for publishing party financial reports in a user-friendly format. This enables any concerned citizen to determine which individuals have made contributions to a candidate or political party; which political parties received funding from what sources; and the amount donated. Among the challenges faced by party systems in Europe, Dr. Ohman underscored the overall lack of citizen confidence in political parties as well as the development of populist movements that are not subject to current political finance regulations.

IFES’ senior political finance adviser noted that no electoral system can guarantee transparency and each system requires a tailored approach to political and campaign finance regulation. He also remarked that the window for administering meaningful election law and political finance legal reform in advance of the 2019 elections is passing in Ukraine, and for reforms to be impactful, implementation must take place without delays.

Dr. Ohman stressed that tangible improvements resulting from the 2015 political finance reform in Ukraine will require several electoral cycles, and therefore any premature conclusions on negative implications of reform should be avoided. However, amendments aimed at addressing any evident flaws to the current political finance legal framework should be considered.

Ukraine’s 2015 Political Finance Reform Law introduced direct public funding of political parties, established restrictions on private donations and harmonized regulation of campaign finance in the presidential and parliamentary elections. The reform also established a new political finance oversight system, enabled the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption to regulate money in politics and introduced sanctions for non-compliance with the new regulations.

IFES will continue to support the implementation of political finance reform in Ukraine, to ensure effectiveness of the regulations stemming from the still-nascent political finance reform law. IFES’ technical assistance is designed to promote transparent and accountable political finance systems, enhance Ukraine’s electoral integrity and ensure transparency and a level playing field for both political parties and candidates.

This analysis was made possible with funding from U.S. Agency for International Development, Global Affairs Canada and United Kingdom aid.

Photo credit: Hanna Hrabarska