Limited funding makes local parties vulnerable –

Limited funding makes local parties vulnerable –

Marcel Boogers, professor of innovation and regional governance at the University of Twente, is concerned about the limited budget of local parties. “More and more complex tasks are the responsibility of municipalities. This requires a large number of municipal councilors. Municipal councilors also need support, which is expensive.”

The Veling Committee also came to this conclusion during the evaluation of the Political Parties Financing Act commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior in 2017. The expert group recommends subsidies to all parties that have at least one seat in the municipal council, because otherwise the essential functions of representative democracy cannot be fulfilled “properly”.

Boogers says it’s not just a practical matter. The professor also finds the lack of subsidies for local parties risky. “The risk is that you drive them into the arms of local companies, who are more or less willing to buy influence and crowdfund these parties with donations.”

Gift Policy

Party leader David Schalken-den Hartog of Beter voor Dordt is also concerned about this. “Suppose a wealthy entrepreneur from Dordrecht makes a large donation and then I have to vote for something that concerns him directly, then it becomes very complicated.”

Donations of EUR 4,500 or more to national parties are public, making it difficult to buy influence. The rules are less strict for local parties. There should be a donation policy that specifies how they make donations public, but parties can choose how many donations they accept.

transparency

Schalken-den Hartog believes that ultimately everyone benefits from a good and professional municipal administration. “In any case, the rules of the game must also be financially fairer.” However, his party does not accept donations “so as not to create the appearance of a conflict of interest”. But not all parties do it that way.”

“Transparency is a core value of democracy,” says the Veling Committee. That is why experts not only want to give subsidies to all political parties that have at least one seat, but also want to impose transparency requirements on all elected political parties. Next week, the House of Representatives will discuss the future of financing political parties.

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Source: NOS

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