Financing political parties

03-04-2001

"I don't think so. Financing of political parties seems now to be one of the most important problems in Europe without dividing lines. Listeners might remember the scandals of Mr. Kohl, of Mr. Miterrrand, of Mr. Chirac, of some very important people in European politics, who were really down in the scandals about financing their political parties and about corruption in connection with financing political parties."

Excuse me, but there it seems to be solved, it comes up into the open, in our country it's sort of swept under the carpet, more or less.

"Yes, this is really the main difference, and I might say that the more East you go in Europe, the more acts and laws about political parties and their financing is on the table and adopted by their national parliaments, but the more corruption, and there are no results, no end of these scandals. It's very interesting that the country, which is not based on many acts, that's Great Britain, where the British Parliament, both chambers have now adopted a very strict law about financing political parties, where the leading political party lives on sponsorship, and on the contrary, the shadow cabinet, the party which is in opposition, lives on state financing, on the state budget, so that they can work, prepare their manifestos, and so forth, pay specialists. It is very limited, how much money you can spend per one candidate in election campaigns. It is very strict and I think it might serve as a certain example for other European political parties. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is really dealing with this issue. My report will be on the table, in the Standing Committee, in the second half of May, and I am absolutely sure it will be adopted. And then we will see what we shall adopt from this resolution in the Czech Republic."

What are the main lessons we should learn, how should our system change?

"That it is not only about acts, but in every act there must be sanctions. That is without any discussion, and those who are guilty, they are simply to go out of the game. It is not only paying some penalty. No - you are guilty, you are out."

This is not a country where politicians are prone to resigning. How do you think this recommendation will affect the Czech political scene?

"There is a group of people in the Parliament of the Czech Republic, who are now preparing some amendments to the act about political parties and about the financing of political parties. So, I think this will be a very strong impulse.

And...?

"And I am an optimist, even in politics."

03-04-2001