On March 10, Transparency International (TI) Georgia released its report “Electoral Campaign Funding in Georgia” detailing financial expenses and sources of funding for 16 parties and election blocs, which were eligible for the state funding and ran for the MP seats in October 8, 2016 elections.
The report, covers donations received in pre- and post-election period of June 8 to November 16, 2016.
The party election coffers are made of state-guaranteed funding, which depends on results in the most recent elections, private donations and bank loans.
The report found that the parties have thus collected a total of 32 million Georgian Lari (GEL) (USD 12.8 million). Out of which GEL 21.31 million (66%) filled the coffers of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG). Trailing in second place was the main opposition United National Movement (UNM) with GEL 2.8 million (USD 1.12 million). The Alliance of Patriots, a party which narrowly crossed the threshold to seat the MPs was third with GEL 1.7 million (USD 680 000).
TI said the GDDG “revenues exceeded those of the United National Movement seven-fold” and were twice more than those allocated to all other qualified parties combined, making the difference “unprecedented.”
The donations made all the difference, according to the report. In the electoral period, a total of GEL 21.7 million (USD 8.8 million) were donated, from which GEL 19.2 million (86%) went to the ruling GDDG, followed by the Alliance of Patriots with GEL 998 001 (USD 400 829) and UNM trailing third with GEL 972 764 (USD 390 693).
TI Georgia also emphasized that complete financial reporting from the political parties remains a “major challenge.”
“The overwhelming majority of the declarations provided by the political parties are incomplete and inconsistent. In many reports, the parties did not provide information that is required by the law ,” the report says.