A balanced and transparent system of political party financing should be fostered.
- Each State Party shall also consider taking appropriate legislative and administrative measures, consistent with the objectives of this Convention and in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, to enhance transparency in the funding of candidatures for elected public office and, where applicable, the funding of political parties.
- The strengthening of political parties and other political organizations is a priority for democracy. Special attention will be paid to the problems associated with the high cost of election campaigns and the establishment of a balanced and transparent system for their financing.
- Party funding must comply with the principles of accountability and transparency.
- While enhancing transparency is a primary aim of many reforms and reform proposals, it should be noted that there can be specific circumstances under which disclosure of contributions to parties may have unintended side-effects. In the context of prevailing political intolerance, full disclosure may inhibit contributions to opposition parties, and, at the same time may favour the pro-government forces.
- In particular, States should: ...Provide for the formation and free functioning of political parties, possibly regulate the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns, ensure the separation of party and State, and establish the conditions for competition in legislative elections on an equitable basis.
- Admittedly regulating party and campaign finances is a difficult task. There is a wide variety of regulations in operation throughout Europe and other world regions. Regulations may refer to party funding as a whole (including “routine activities”) or only to electoral campaigns. Some countries apply direct public financing, others allow only private financing. There are systems with contribution and expenditure limits, and others without them. There may be bans on certain types of contributions, as well as on certain types of expenditure. Moreover, electoral and party laws differ considerably with regard to the disclosure of party and campaign funds as well as with regard to the public access to the disclosed information. The variety of regulations makes it difficult to set common standards.