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Socialists look to reform political party funding

18 August 2004

MADRID – Spain’s Socialist (PSOE) government is looking for wide-ranging reforms in the financing of political parties.

If given the go-ahead, most of the money will be channelled through the national budget. Contributions from companies will be prohibited and personal donations severely restricted.

Outlines of these main proposals, drawn up by MP Francisco Fernández Marugán, were published in the Wednesday edition of El País.

They are currently being studied by deputy prime minister María Teresa Fernández de la Vega and PSOE’s organisational secretary, José Blanco, before negotiations begin with the main opposition party, the Partido Popular (PP), in the next few weeks.

The draft proposals drawn up by Marugán are aimed basically at everyday funding of the political parties and not contributions for electoral campaigns.

The main changes, according to the newspaper, will be in the limitation of private contributions.

Under the PSOE plan, only individuals and not companies will be able to make donations.

Anonymous contributions will no longer be permitted, to ensure that any donor does not exceed the proposed maximum payment of EUR 60,000 per person per year.

In 1999, when it was in opposition, the PSOE tried to promote an earlier scheme for party financing. But the PP and main nationalist parties opposed the idea of donors’ names being made public.

Between 1992 and 2001 the PP received EUR 20.4 million in donations, most of them anonymous, ten times more than the PSOE.

Both the main Catalan and Basque parties also received large sums through donations.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news