By Nevena Šarenac – Sarajevo
Transparency International (TI) BiH considers it completely unacceptable to suspend proceedings against political parties for violating the law on financing of political parties of BIH by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and at the decision of the BiH Court.
In a statement from TI BIH today, it states that in this way the law on financing political parties has been suspended, and with a completely unbelievable qualification of the Court of BiH, a message was sent to political parties and the public that even the funding of political parties from illegal sources and in an illegal way completely acceptable.
Specifically, CEC initially determined that SNSD received prohibited contributions and fined this party in the amount of 18.000 KM. Also, an analysis of TI BiH showed, and CEC also found that SNSD in its reports did not show the appearances of Svetlana Ražnatović during the campaign before the general elections in 2010, and for this SNSD was fined for the amount of 5.000 KM.
However, after the Appellate Division of the BiH Court accepted the appeal of SNSD, with no clear basis, and returned the case for CEC to consider, the same subject was suspended. In addition to SNSD, the original sanctions for SDA, Naša Stranka, SDU, HSP BiH and SDA were suspended, and also for failure to report contributions.
The findings of TI BiH for years are pointing to numerous abuses by political parties during the election campaign, which includes the failure to report all costs of campaign rallies (especially, in the case of SNSD, the organization of concerts and registration fees of performers), misuse of budget funds to promote the party, etc. The sanctions for such violations are already extremely low, and the constant practice of the BiH Court to annul the decision of CEC, in which sanctions that are imposed on parties further obstruct the application of the law on financing political parties and make it completely pointless, because if the parties do not suffer the consequences of violating the law, nothing motivates them to respect it.
Therefore, as one of the most important issues for the overall functioning of the political system in BiH, an adequate regulation of the financing of political parties is imposed, through improving the legal framework and its implementation, especially keeping in mind the harm done to amendments to the law on financing of political parties in 2012, which in a legal framework is devastated and enabled abuse.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of TI BIH Emir Đikić warns that the decision of CEC BIH derogates the former law on financing political parties in BIH.
“With a new law, an increase in the limit is enabled that political parties could spend in an election campaign, which is irresponsible towards citizens and a spending of budget money’’, said Đikić.
Commenting on the transparency of financing political parties in BiH, Đikić said that it is most evident during the election campaign.