Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

PARTIES AGAIN CONCEALED THE NAMES OF THEIR FINANCIAL BENEFECTORS

After the recent parliamentary elections not a single political force in the new National Assembly made public the list of its sponsors. The representatives of the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII), of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), and of Coalition for Bulgaria flatly refused to reveal the names of their financial benefactors. They said the lists were presented to the Audit Office together with the other documents regarding the financing of the pre-election campaign. Politicians, even those preaching a new moral, refused to unveil their donators and thus lay the beginning of the proclaimed crusade against corruption. Hope remains that the Chairman of the Audit Office Georgi Nikolov, who accepted the political parties' reports about the money they spent during the pre-election campaign, will venture to do that.
Mr. Nikolov recalled that under the Parliamentary Elections Act, parties and coalitions are not entitled to receive donations from state-run companies, foreign firms and private citizens, and companies with a more than 25% foreign participation. The act also stipulates that political parties cannot spend more than DEM1MN for their pre-election campaigns; the respective ceiling is DEM2MN for coalitions and DEM200,000 for initiative committees. The law does not allow a donation of a single citizen to exceed DEM10,000, and a firm cannot grant more than DEM30,000.
However, the Chairman of the Audit Office pointed out that the Act does not explicitely say if the submitted reports are liable to inspection. Moreover, the law makes no provisions for sanctions on political forces which have not filed their reports, or have violated the Act in any other way.
The ethnic Turks' MRF was extremely sparing of the information on its expenses during the pre-election campaign. Hassan Ademov, MP from the MRF, only said their expenses did not exceed DEM200,000 and that he did not remember any other figures.
The leftist Coalition for Bulgaria announced it spent DEM711,000 for its pre-election campaign. Only DEMGL60,000 of that amount was provided by the 15 coalition partners of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), and the remaing money was ensured by the socialists.
It turned out that the UDF neither has any intentions of unveiling the names of its sponsors. According to the former Finance Minister and Vice Chairman of UDF's National Executive Council Mouravei Radev, not a single political force will do that. Mr. Radev specified for the BANKER weekly that UDF's pre-election campaign was sponsored mainly by natural persons. The number of firms was very little and among them there were no banks or private companies that were engaged in public procurement at the moment when the donation was made. Mr. Radev specified that UDF's pre-election campaign cost a little more than DEM1.5MN.
NMSII's information on its pre-election expenses was the most exhaustive. The total amount of donations which the NMSII received on its accounts in Bulgarian Post Bank or in cash was around DEM1.56MN. Unlike the donations to the UDF, most of NMSII' money - DEM903.4MN-plus - came from companies, and the balance of DEM656,100 - from natural persons. Each sponsor got a cerificate from the NMSII and was entered in the register of donators.
None of NMSII's financial benefactors wanted to remain anonymous, it becomes clear from the statement to the mass media. In that case, it is unlikely for anybody to get angry if his or her name is made public.
NMSII saved some DEM6,000 of the donations. Most of the expenses - about DEM835,000 went for the mass media campaign. NMSII, however, did not take pains to specify how much money was paid to the electronic media and how much - to the press.
More than DEM326,500 was spent on author's payment and sociological polls. It would be interesting to know which sociological agencies swallowed that money and how much they got.
NMSII spent much less - about DEM113,400 - on its mass activities. Propaganda and advertising materials cost DEM110,500; transport costs amounted to some DEM67,500, and miscellaneous expenses - for several cocktail parties probably - exceeded DEM93,400.

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