A planned legislative amendment will make available total of up to GEL 2.23 million of additional public funding for twelve political parties on top of what they already receive from the state budget.
According to the draft amendment to the law on political parties, released by ruling party on January 27, those twelve parties which already receive funding from the state budget based on their performance in the most recent elections – in this case in May, 2010 local elections – will receive additional funds to be used solely for political ads on television stations.
Under the proposed scheme, which has yet to be approved by the Parliament, the ruling party will become eligible to GEL 600,000. The proposed formula for calculating additional funding based on votes received by each party or a bloc in previous election makes the ruling party eligible for over GEL 3.3 million, but the proposed amendment will put restriction that no more than GEL 600,000 should be allocated for each party or bloc under the scheme.
According to the proposal, which is expected to be passed during the spring sitting of the Parliament, Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) will be eligible to GEL 200,000 funding; the same amount will go to each of two parties (Christian-Democratic People’s Party and European Democrats) which ran jointly in a bloc with CDM in local elections.
Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD), Republican Party, New Rights and Georgia’s Way, which during the local elections ran in joint electoral bloc, will receive GEL 117,405 each.
Conservative Party, People’s Party and now actually defunct Movement for Fair Georgia, which were in joint bloc, will receive GEL 115,253 each and Industrialists will receive GEL 213,912.
OGFD, Republican Party, Conservative Party and Party of People are now allied with billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili.
After its approval the new scheme of funding will be a supplement to already existing two types of party funding available from the state budget.
The first is a scheme according to which annual state funding is available for so called “qualified political parties” – those which have cleared, separately or together with others in an electoral bloc, a 4% threshold in parliamentary elections and a 3% threshold in local self-government elections. Total of GEL 5.9 million is currently envisaged for the funding of seventeen parties from the state budget annually based on their performance in recent elections. The ruling party receives more than any other from those seventeen parties – GEL 1.95 million, because it received more votes than others in the last parliamentary and local elections. Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) comes second with GEL 767,300.
The second type of state funding for parties is envisaged by the new election code, passed last month; according to this scheme parties or election blocs, which will clear 5% threshold in this year’s parliamentary elections will become eligible to funds to cover campaign cost in an amount of no more than GEL 1 million. GEL 300,000 of this sum will specifically be allocated for covering political TV ad cost.