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Parliamentary elections 2011 – so far the most transparent financing of electoral campaigns


Political parties have made significant progress in the area of transparency of financing electoral campaigns. However, as stated in earlier reports of associations, price lists of advertising space and arranged discounts could presents possible „grey zones“, said TIC and GONG at the press conference, where they published early financial reports of parties and candidates.

This has been shown through the estimation of the advertising value of political parties and independent lists and comparison with the official early reports of parties and candidates. GONG and TIC also highlighted that these amounts cannot be taken as the final and actually paid advertising costs by parties and independent lists, since it is possible that not all the discounts provided were included (what was included were publicly announced discounts –HDZ, HSLS and IDS- and average value of the discounts).
The lack of transparency of price lists and discounts makes data non verifiable, disables sound monitoring of the financing of the election campaigns and leaves room for different interpretations.
Comparison of TIC’s and GONG’s estimates with the data from the official early reports of the parties shows differences in advertising costs for the two biggest parties/coalitions and candidate Milan Bandić (the costs in the reports are lower than estimated costs of the value of advertising space according to monitoring). The reports of other parties/independent list do not show unclear differences (with some parties ven indicating higher costs than those estimated through the monitoring. The possible reason for this difference could be found in the different costs of advertising in local media, which was not covered by this monitoring).
The reasons for the differences in the advertising costs in the first case may include the following:
- Party/coalition may obtain higher discounts because of the amount of advertisements;
- No data are available about special conditions and price lists used in buying advertising space and special prices and discounts;
- Difference between real market price of advertising and the amounts published in the official reports may have been covered by someone else.

It is in the interest of the parties to publish the price lists, conditions and advertising discounts to make sure that each party has equal treatment. Larger discounts should be transparently shown as donations, said State Election Commission (SEC).
In order to make our contribution to the transparency of the financing of election campaigns we encourage all media, especially media agencies, as well as outdoor advertising companies, to publicly announce their income from each party, list holder or candidate, including approved discounts.
Finally, TIC and GONG expect the new Government to improve legal framework in order to make price lists and conditions of arranging advertisement prices more transparent, as well as to make clear provision that all expenses and donations must be paid from and to a special account (not the ordinary one). Moreover, a period for reporting on revenues and expenditures of financing electoral campaigns must be clearly defined.
Further capacity building of the bodies responsible for implementation and monitoring of the election activities is also expected.

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