Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) ruling party received total of GEL 10.28 million in donations in the first eight months of this year, almost twice as much as seven opposition parties combined, according to filings with the State Audit Office, which is in charge of monitoring political finances.
State for People, party founded and led by opera singer Paata Burchuladze is the second largest recipient of donations with up to GEL 2.29 million.
Burchuladze’s party runs in the October 8 parliamentary elections in a bloc with New Political Center (NPC) - Girchi (pine cone) and New Georgia, led by former UNM members MP Zurab Japaridze and MP Giorgi Vashadze, respectively; the bloc, which was formed in August, also includes New Rights Party.
NPC-Girchi and New Georgia raised GEL 601,000 and GEL 261,000, respectively.
Alliance of Patriots, which is running in the elections in a bloc with five smaller parties, is the third largest recipient of donations, raising GEL 1.15 million in January-August, 2016.
United National Movement (UNM) raised slightly over GEL 651,000 in the same period, followed by the Free Democrats with GEL 343,000 and Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement with up to GEL 108,000.
Of GEL 10.28 million, which GDDG received in the first eight months of this year, up to GEL 5.6 million was raised in August alone.
Georgia’s political party funding rules, which were eased in 2013, allows corporate donations.
A legal entity has the right to donate maximum of GEL 120,000 annually to a political party.
Donation from an individual citizen is capped at GEL 60,000 annually.
GDDG received corporate donations from at least 15 companies, among them GEL 120,000 from Leader Credit, a microfinance institution, which is co-owned by Isko Daseni, who is number 26th on GDDG’s party list of MP candidates.
The ruling party received GEL 120,000 from GMP, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company affiliated to Kakha Okriashvili, a long-time MP who is a co-founder of Georgia’s one of the largest pharmaceutical chains PSP and who runs for re-election in parliament as GDDG’s majoritarian MP candidate in Dmanisi and Tsalka single-mandate district.
Among other corporate donors of the ruling party were: confectionery producer Gagra+, which donated GEL 120,000; Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (GEL 120,000); pharmaceutical wholesaler and distribution company New Georgia-555 (GEL 120,000); food products’ importer Alfa (GEL 120,000); online gambling firm Geogrand (GEL 100,000) GEL 100,000 from Batumi-based real estate developer Dar Building; country’s largest bottler and distributor of soft drinks Coca Cola Bottles Georgia (GEL 30,000).
Other parties, which received corporate donations, were Alliance of Patriots (total of GEL 120,000 from several companies) and NPC-Girchi (non-monetary donation worth GEL 10,000).
Several political parties are eligible to state funding, depending on results in the most recent elections. Last year six parties, which were part of now already dissolved Georgian Dream coalition, received total of GEL 4.45 million (GDDG – GEL 843,752, and Republican Party, Free Democrats, Industrialists, Conservatives, and National Forum – GEL 721,352 each); UNM received up to GEL 2.65 million in state funding last year and its then partner party Christian-Conservatives – GEL 835,416; Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement – GEL 1.47 million; Alliance of Patriots – GEL 636,900, and Labor Party – GEL 610,000.