Ukraine's political parties already spend over US$22 mln on election campaigns: NGO CHESNO

14:59, 14 July 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

The estimates were made by NGO CHESNO, which has analyzed intermediate financial reports published by Ukraine's Central Election Commission.

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The top 10 parties by the amount of funds transferred to the electoral fund's account include: Oleh Liashko's Radical Party (UAH 98.2 million, or US$3.81 million), the Servant of the People Party (UAH 97.5 million, or US$3.78 million), Vyacheslav Vakarchuk's Holos (Voice) Party (UAH 78 million, or US$3.03 million), Volodymyr Groysman's Ukrainian Strategy (UAH 72.2 million, or US$2.80 million), the Opposition Bloc (UAH 69 million, or US$2.68 million), Petro Poroshenko's European Solidarity Party (UAH 47.3 million, or US$1.84 million), Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna Party (UAH 35.4 million, or US$1.37 million), Anatoliy Hrytsenko's Civil Position (UAH 21 million, or US$815,217), Ihor Smeshko's Strength and Honor Party (UAH 19 million, or US$737,578), and Andriy Sadovyi's Samopomich Party (UAH 15.5 million, US$601,708).

In most cases, the election funds were filled at the parties' expense. That is, the reports indicate that the funds were transferred to the election fund's account from a party's current account.

"This means that we will partially know the real origin of money used for campaigning in August (when the parties submit reports for the second quarter of 2019 to the National Agency on Corruption Prevention) and in November (when the parties submit the reports for the third quarter, which will include contributions for July)," CHESNO analysts said.

In total, out of UAH 568 million received on the accounts of the election funds, UAH 544 million (US$21.12 million), or 96% of the funds, are the assets accumulated by the political parties on current accounts and then transferred to the electoral accounts.

"Thus, voters will be able to learn who financed the parties after the elections when this information largely loses its relevance. We can say that this whittles down the very idea of submitting interim financial reports," CHESNO said.

In terms of expenditures, the Servant of the People surpassed the Radical Party, although the radicals raised more financing.

According to the interim financial reports, the total expenses of the parties were UAH 506 million (US$19.64 million): in particular, the Servant of the People used UAH 96.9 million (US$3.76 million), the Radical Party UAH 73 million (US$2.83 million), Holos UAH 71.6 million (US$2.78 million), Groysman's Ukrainian Strategy UAH 61.2 million (US$2.38 million), the Opposition Bloc UAH 55 million (US$2.14 million), European Solidarity UAH 47.2 million (US$1.83 million), Batkivshchyna UAH 35 million (US$1.36 million), Civil Position UAH 21 million (US$815,217), Strength and Honor UAH 18.4 million (US$714,286), Samopomich UAH 15.2 million (US$590,062). Traditionally, parties spend more on advertising in the media, primarily on television. They spent UAH 411.5 million (US$15.97 million), or 81% of their total expenditure, on TV ads.

The deadline for submitting financial statements is Monday, July 15.

During the parliamentary elections, the parties are also competing for state funding. Those parties that will receive 2% of the vote and more will get financial support from the state in the next five years. CHESNO estimates that about UAH 600 million, or US$23.29 million, will be allocated to finance the current activities of the parties in 2020. The parties that overcome the 5% barrier will also receive full reimbursement for spending on their campaign in addition to the basic state funding.

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