Party and Campaign Funding in Eastern Europe: A Study of 18 Member Countries of the ACEEEO
Free and fair elections are regarded as a crucial, defining characteristic of a democratic regime. The uninhibited contest of ideas and between the political parties representing them has become a warrant of basic human rights in a liberal society. Peaceful competition for voter support and acceptance of democratic election outcomes characterize advanced, consolidated democracies.
The campaign for election is a crucial component of the election process. It is during the campaign that voters are familiarized with a number of policy options and given the most opportunities to communicate with contending parties or individual candidates. The importance of election campaigns is even higher in countries where democracy has been introduced or reintroduced relatively recently. Electorates lack stable party attachments and identification, therefore, they are volatile and considerably more exposed to campaign efforts of contenders. Hence, the significance political parties and candidates attach to campaigning is reflected in investing multiple resources in the election campaigns.
This paper explores institutional arrangements in the crucial area of party and campaign finance in the 18 member countries of the Association of Central and Eastern European Election Officials: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine. For each country, the following information is provided: (1) institutional background, (2) summary of laws and regulations, (3) a brief discussion of some current problems and issues. This study attempts to diagram the most common patterns of campaign finance regulations and to identify a number of shortcomings of the existing regimes of campaign funding.
The paper draws on a number of sources: (1) acts of legislation regulating party and/or campaign finance in the respective countries; (2) information provided by representatives of Central Election Commissions; (3) interviews with in-country experts on party finance; (4) reports prepared by the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe; (5) media publications.
Information in this paper is accurate as of October 1, 2001.