231 POLITICAL FORCES HIDE THEIR FINANCIAL REPORTS
Since the Law on Political Parties became effective four years ago (on March 28, 2001) the chaos in the public reporting of the parties' financial matters has been growing incessantly. Especially considering the fact that as of December 31, 2004 the number of the political subjects registered by the Sofia City Court reached the incredible 345, of which 12 registered back in 2001.According to the above mentioned law, the deadline by which parties were obliged to present to the Audit Office their 2004 profit and loss accounts expired on March 15. It turned out that fewer than a third of them (103 political forces, to be precise) observed the law and reported their financial results in time. Nineteen of them take part in coalitions presented in the Parliament that are entitled to state subsidies. The excellent parties group includes the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII), the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), the Party of the Bulgarian Women, the Oborishte Movement, etc.However, there are many more which failed to obey the law. As the Audit Office informs, there are 231 political forces that have not presented their financial reports even by 12 a.m. on March 21. Among them are three parties involved in parliamentary coalitions - the Alliance for Socialliberal Progress, the Bulgaria Ahead Movement, and the Euroroma Political Movement. The group of parties which did not meet the requirements and are not presented in Parliament includes Ecoglasnost led by Edvin Sugarev, the Civil Union for the Republic led by Alexander Tomov, the New Choice group led by Dimitar Ludzhev, etc.Also impressive (139) is the number of the political forces which have never presented profit and loss accounts to the Audit Office. The list includes exotic names such as the Bulgarian Communist Party of the Bolsheviki, the National Party of Labour, Private Owners, Manufacturers and Creators, etc. With a few exceptions, it seems that most of them have had neither profit nor loss so far. There are only eleven parties that deposited their accounts after the deadline. The only one included in a parliamentary coalition is the Liberal Union led by Roumen Danov.It's curious that 41 of the parties that presented financial accounts to the Audit Office reported zero profit and zero loss for 2004. This group includes the Kingdom Bulgaria Federation led by Hristo Kourtev, the National Blue Party of Alexander Yanchulov, and the Civil Party for Bulgaria led by Bogomil Bonev.Obviously, one main reason for the ignorance showed by many political forces towards their public financial reports are the limited rights of the Audit Office. According to the law, Bulgaria's highest auditing institution is not entitled to impose any material sanctions, although it is the only one to exercise thorough control over the profits and losses of the political parties. The most serious consequence for parties that fail to present reports within the deadline is that they are not paid the state subsidy they are entitled to for the respective year.As to the moral sanctions, they only stipulate the announcement of the results from the inspection. In this concrete case, the Audit Office is going to inspect the 2004 reports presented by the parties by September 15, 2005 and will then send a report to the media.