GEO

Flawed legislation contributes to the increasing number of political parties qualified for state funding

02 May, 2017

Currently, 20 political parties are being funded from the state budget in Georgia. This is an unprecedented number in the country’s history. The main reason for this increase in the number of qualified parties is the country’s flawed legislation, which provides financial incentives for parties to become qualified by forming election blocks.

As a rule, political parties form election blocks in order to better carry out their political goals; however, when the legislation places election blocks in a favorable position, the result is that election blocks are being created artificially for the purpose of gaining financial benefits.

Transparency International Georgia and its partner organizations are currently working on a legislative proposal to solve the above problem. More detailed information about the essence of the problem and our proposed solution will be published in the near future.

In the framework of the Constitutional Commission, the Georgian government has presented plans to completely abolish election blocks. We believe that this change is unacceptable. Considering the fact that the election threshold is 5%, and that the majority of political parties in Georgia have ratings below 5%, this change will limit their ability to take part in politics. We have voiced our opinion on this issue in our previous statement.

The following is the list of political parties qualified to receive state funding and the amount of funding each of them receives on a monthly basis:

Georgian political parties receive the above monthly funding based on Article 30 of the Law on Political Union of Citizens (the amount of funding depends on the number of votes and mandates received by a party, gender balance in its party list, and whether it has formed a faction). However, qualified parties that take part in elections also receive the following indirect funding:

  • Reimbursement of Campaign Expenses – parties that manage to clear the 5% threshold at the parliamentary elections (10% at the presidential elections) will receive GEL 1 million as reimbursement of campaign expenses.
  • Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Training Center – the center funds seminars, trainings and business trips for political parties in order to build their capacity.
  • Representation in Precinct and District Election Commissions on Election Day – political parties are funded for GEL 100 for each electoral precinct and GEL 150 for each district (these increase to GEL 150 and GEL 200, respectively, for election blocks with at least 2 qualified parties) where they have a representative in the election commission.
  • Targeted Funding for Television Advertising during an Election Year – The number of votes received in the last general elections is multiplied by three and divided by the number of political parties included in the election subject; this amount must not exceed GEL 600,000.
  • Free Advertising Time – during the election period, the Georgian Public Broadcaster is obligated to provide qualified subject with 5 minutes of free advertising time every hour; national broadcaster - 7.5 minutes in 3 hours.