Key amendments and key challenges – TI on 2020 Election Campaign
Transparency International Georgia released an interim report on funding of the 2020 Election Campaign.
The report summarizes the amendments to the election legislation adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on 2 July 2020 and also suggests some more improvements in this regard.
Key findings on the amendments for the TI include: The election threshold required for parties to receive public funding decreased from 3% to 1%; the rules for defining the amount of public funding was simplified and improved; a sanction has been introduced for illegal expenses undertaken for the purposes of counter-campaigning; criteria were improved for donations by legal entities; vote-buying will be classified as criminal wrongdoing in all cases; documents related to the monitoring of party financing will be circulated electronically; personal data of donors will be more protected; the definition of prohibited funding was expanded, and a sanction has been defined for such cases when an electoral subject places an advertisement of other electoral subjects within its allocated airtime.
However, as the report shows challenges remain. The main challenge to TI is that the State Audit Office does not have the respective authority and legal mechanisms to investigate certain instances.
In its interim report, TI writes: “According to the State Audit Office, administrative proceedings were launched in 7 cases as a result of analyzing information obtained through the Office’s media monitoring efforts and information provided by political subjects. Out of these 7 proceedings, three were finalized and a notice of administrative violation were drafted for two cases. Two cases are still pending review, including one that was launched on the basis of a journalistic investigation that included information on the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia’s connection and financial links to the Kremlin. This report was published in two parts on August 24 and 31 by Dossier, which is a platform for investigative journalism. This case has once again made it clear that the State Audit Office does not have the respective authority and legal mechanisms to investigate such instances”.
Transparency International Georgia believes that an independent anti-corruption agency should be established. “This agency will have investigative powers, as well as other functions, such as carrying out oversight of political party funding. Several Members of the Parliament have already registered a draft law in support of this initiative in the Parliament, but it has yet to be discussed” – TI said.