Polish PM calls again for abolition of political party state financing

The governing Civic Platform (PO) party will have a draft legislation ready next week that will eliminate political party financing from the state budget, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters Wednesday.


PO caucus head Rafal Grupiński has committed himself to draft the bill as quickly as possible, Tusk added after meeting with Grupiński and Sejm lower speaker Ewa Kopacz. PM has already seen the project but it needs some corrections, he said.


PM Tusk said that each model of political party funding has its good and bad sides, but in his opinion the model when parties are financed “out of the pockets of taxpayers” is the least acceptable in Poland.


“I am absolutely sure that political parties can support themselves with contributions from their members and followers,” Tusk said.


Theses donations should be “transparent, registered and controlled by the society as well as state institutions such as the National Electoral Office PKW.


According to PM any member of any political party who accepted money from an unknown source should be penalized.


Tusk reminded it is not the first time the ruling party proposes a law eliminating state funding of political parties. However, so far PO has not been able to find support of the required majority in the Sejm to make the changes happen.


The discussion on banning state subsidies for political parties is back on the agenda following recent media reports. Last week the daily Gazeta Wyborcza published a review of items on which the Polish parties spend millions of zlotys from the state budget. On Monday the weekly Newsweek revealed that PO had spent almost PLN 250,000 of public money on designers suits and shoes, some PLN 100,000 on wine and cigars and PLN 200 on restaurants.


It believes that the budget could save even PLN 450 million if the law on parties is amended.


At present budget subsidies go to political parties that have won at least 3% of votes and coalitions that got at least 6% of votes in elections to the Sejm.


The Warszaw Voice