Jozic- Ilekovic: The public has to know how much is really being spent on a political campaign

CIVIL - Center for Freedom held a thematic meeting on "Financing of political parties and election campaigns", which included an expert team from Republic of Croatia as guests. The meeting was held in Skopje on November 20, 2015, within the framework of the Project "My voting right". The project has been made possible with the support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) within the USAID Civil Society Project.

The expert team, Ms. Aleksandra Jozic Ilekovic from the Centre of Excellence within the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Mr. Dragan Zelic from GONG, shared the experiences of Croatia, which not too long ago had similar experiences and challenges as Macedonia.

Jozic Ilekovic, former vice-chairman of the State Electoral Commission of the Republic of Croatia and current adviser to the Minister for Public Administration, Arsen Bauk, addressed the legal aspects of financing political parties and election campaigns:

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"Every cost and expense has to go through a special account. When we refer to the reports that are prescribed according to regulations by the Minister of Finance, we refer to several reports, and all of them need to be detailed, with much more content. Firstly, a report on donations, then a report on the costs and expenses. For GONG, the report on the prices and discounts realized in media advertising of campaigns was particularly interesting.

These are the three elements that must contain very thorough and detailed data. If you want to do some research, and I can see that you want to work and learn, then I would like to suggest for you to visit the website of the SEC of Croatia The website has published the reports of the participants of the last parliamentary elections in Croatia, from which you can compare and see how big the difference is between the data that is required by your law and the data that we request. And, we are talking about very similar, and I emphasize, very similar legal regulations.

Some studies have shown that voters in our country punish expensive campaigns and arrogant politicians. That is why it is very important to know how much is actually spent and just how much is declared, and how big the difference is. You also need to know how to also recognize the "satellites" who are besides those participating in the elections ... For example, the various companies whose founder is precisely a certain political party, to see what their role is in the electoral process. That is something that is also very interesting.

If we compare the model of the content of the Macedonian electoral code in regards to the financing of campaigns with the Croatian law, we can see that they are absolutely very alike. The biggest difference that we detected is in that the Macedonian State Election Commission is in fact a body that collects and publishes the reports of the participants in the elections, but does not actually perform supervision on those reports. And, that is one of our recommendations, and our opinion is that for that body that provision of the law should be determined precisely. "

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