The Revolution of Dignity brought down the Yanukovych regime, but failed to destroy the old oligarchic system of Ukrainian politics. The most influential people in this system are still not the leaders of parliamentary parties, but the oligarchs funding these parties. Ukraine loses tens of billions of hryvnias annually as a result of actions of the parties defending the interests of their sponsors, instead of the interests of their people.
According to the Ukrainian and international experts in electoral legislation, the only weapon that can fight political corruption is state funding of the political parties and election campaigns in conjunction with a simultaneous drastic increase of control over the party finances.
In other words, it is necessary for the most popular parties to be able to exist without any financial help from businesses, and, on the other hand, it is crucial to limit the impact businesses have on the parties as much as possible.
The Eidos Centre in cooperation with Transparency International Ukraine and with the participation of Ukrainian and international experts developed an innovative draft law “On the Political Corruption Prevention and Counteraction”, which was registered in the Verkhovna Rada under number 2123a. The official (de jure) authors of the draft law were a deputy from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party Serhiy Leshchenko, a Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy and a deputy from Samopomich Yegor Sobolyev.
The draft law provides for the introduction of annual state funding of political parties that received 2% of the vote at elections (since the second half of 2016) and partial reimbursement to parties for campaigning at parliamentary elections. At the same time, the limits are set for the sources of funding political parties and campaigning at elections; limiting the amount of annual donations to the party from one person; a quarterly publication of detailed reports on property, income, expenses and financial obligations etc. from the parties.
The Eidos Centre ran a large-scale advocacy campaign for the law. More than two dozen articles and press releases were prepared and published in the leading media. Two animated videos about the nature and content of the law were created and distributed. Two press conferences, a series of roundtables in Kyiv and in the regions were held. More than 60 activists engaged in promoting the law were trained by the Centre experts.
Finally, due to considerable media and public pressure, on October 9, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law on the budget funding of political parties. 229 deputies voted for changes to some legislative acts of Ukraine concerning prevention and counteraction of political corruption №2123a.
In the years to come, we are to expect a revolution in the field of transparency in political finance. In 2016, for the first time in history the parliamentary parties will have to provide a detailed report on their property, its costs, revenues and expenses, on all donations to the party, including details on the person and the time of payment and so on.
Party funds will be controlled by the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (collecting and publishing reports, delegating the materials for criminal prosecution) and the Accounting Chamber (carrying out financial audits of the parties).