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Transparency International Albania calls for enhancing transparency of political party funding in Albania

Transparency International Albania published today the study report “Buying Influence: Money and Political Parties in Albania”, an assessment of the annual political financing system in Albania in 2012. This report is part of a regional project “CRINIS – shining a light on money in politics” implemented by Transparency International in five countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo.

The CRINIS index analysis the legal framework and implementation into practice of the annual funding of political parties in Albania by evaluating 10 dimensions: internal bookkeeping, reporting to the oversight agency, comprehensiveness of reporting, depth of reporting, reliability of reporting, disclosure of information to citizens, preventive measures, sanctions and state oversight. In a scale from 0 to 10 where 10 indicates that a country fulfils all the criteria expected in terms of transparency and accountability, and 0 indicates that it fulfils none of the criteria {insufficient (0-3.3), average (3.4–6.7), good (6.8-10)}, the CRINIS Index for Albania scores an average result of 5.9 points reflecting a good legal framework but poor implementation in practice.

The weakest dimensions identified are sanctions and preventive measures. Sanctions do not extend beyond monetary fines and are not considered sufficient to address the irregularities. The preventive measures analysed include: the existence of a centralized system of bank transactions and a ban on cash deposits which could prevent the identification of the origin of donations; the existence of preventive measures against the abuse of government resources and whether fiscal incentives for disclosure of donations exist or whether there are media regulations on preventing potential abuse of political influence. Among these indicators, the current Albanian Law “For Political Parties” regulates only a ban on cash deposits for a larger amount than 100,000 Leke (720 EUR) which on the other hand, is considered a high threshold as it can hinder the effective control on the funds donated under the amount of 100,000 Leke (720 EUR).

Through this report, TIA appeals to the Central Elections Commission, as the competent state authority on monitoring and oversight of the political party funding, to guarantee proper and correct reporting on the assets, income and expenditures of political parties through a proactive investigations to verify the financial accounts of political parties. The CEC should demonstrate the institutional independence for penalizing the illegal financing of political parties and the effective implementation of the legal obligations deriving from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Despite the constitutional and legal obligations, political parties in Albania do not inform their members, voters and the entire public on the annual finances which is considered a lack of the accountability and transparency. In this context, we recommend amending the Law “For Political Parties” with a separate disposition requiring the political parties to publish themselves the income and expenditures, and foreseeing strong penalties in the case of non respecting the law.

The analysis of the annual financial reports submitted to the CEC in the year 2012 has revealed a series of irregularities:

  • The year 2011 as an electoral year was a condition to the political parties for the submission of a report covering both the finances of the annual period and the finances of the electoral campaign. The CEC has published the reports of five parliamentary parties, among which one of them (Democratic Party) has reported on the period of the local elections and four others (Socialist Party, Republican Party, Socialist Movement for Integration, Union for Human Rights Party) on the entire annual period.
  • The audit reports conducted by certified accountants appointed by CEC were prepared solely for the period of the local elections whereas the law requires that these audit reports should be conducted both for the annual finances and those of local elections. Thus, we recommend amending the law with clear and comprehensive dispositions to separate the format of reporting on annual finances from election-related finances.
  • Based on the test surveys with citizens and field experts, the reliability of the official financial information declared by political parties in our country does not provide good results. The reporting is considered reliable for the public funding, but there is a general perception that large amounts of private donations are left out of their financial reporting.

As a result of an increase in sophistication and cost of the political parties` activities, the latter are vulnerable to offers of funding in exchange for the provision of favours. This buying of influence via political donations undermines the very foundations of representative democracy. Public trust in democracy is eroded when elected leaders fail to comply with the laws they have designed and respect the oversight institutions they have established. Therefore, Transparency International Albania calls on political parties in the country to be open and accountable to the public through detailed disclosure procedures of their political platforms, CVs and donations of their candidates on elections, donors and funding provided during election campaigns and annual activity. The challenge is to limit the opportunities for corruption, while promoting political equality and increasing levels of transparency for empowering citizens to make inform choices on Elections Day.

For any press enquiries please contact

Inesa Hila, Project Coordinator
Transparency International Albania
Bul. Gjergj Fishta, Projekt 2000, Kulla V (blu), Kati 2, Nr.6, Tiranë
Tel: +355 42 267 257; +355 67 22 36 695
E-mail: [email protected]