Guest: Mrs. Aranita Brahaj – Albanian Institute of Science
Topic of discussion: Why in Albania there is no transparency on Electoral Expenditures.
The American Model and the Republic of Albania Issues
Drawing a parallel line with the latest United States’ Presidential Election’s transparency and its model in reflecting the electoral expenditures, why we don’t have models like that in Albania? Can Albania apply transparency on Electoral Spending?
Albania’s case is the one when political parties do not have the courage to hold open and transparent campaigns for raising funds. They raise money but this is not an open process and it is not public in the media or rallies.
Why does this happen and is this legal?
We started working very late on the transparency process for the Albanian Political Parties’ Finances and practically we lack it for a long time. The only legislation for the last two campaigns had predicted some Acts on transparency and the monitoring of political parties’ finances. But the legal provisions are not clear and they leave room for a not complete or late transparency.
As we speak, we do not have a publication from the Central Election Commission on electoral expenditures. Not only this, but also some of the political parties that were part of the last two electoral campaigns, have still not concluded the imperative audit process.
Why do we need transparency with the political parties’ finances?
It is very important to refer carefully on the way the funds are raised for the campaigns and how they are spent.
First of all, our political parties are given money from the National Budget, so part of their expenditures are done through taxpayers’ money. It is an obligation to make transparency how this part of the budget is distributed for various political parties, how these political subjects profit and how they spend their money.
We do have information on the total sum given from the Budget for Parties’ Financing throughout the years. During the last electoral campaign, the political parties were given two hundred million Leke, but we do not have information on who are the parties who received this amount of money and how did they spend them.
Secondly, the parties raise money from membership payments, sponsors, and donations. It is necessary for the citizens to know in real time who are the political parties’ donors or why the political parties are supported from groups, individuals or various businesses.
Mrs. Brahaj, the upcoming elections are close. How can we work for a transparency method for the June 23rd, 2013 elections?
Us, as civil society, can work in partnership with the media to make transparency on the last two processes. This requires investigating, tracing, analyzing, and visualizing everything related with the electoral expenditures for the 2009 and 2011 elections. At the same time, we need to work on gathering and publishing in real time information on electoral expenditures.
The political parties’ chairs, the political parties’ donors, should be persuaded to publish their incomes and expenditures during the electoral campaign, as an imperative condition put from the journalists, civil society and citizens.