ZAGREB, March 21, 2019 – The In the Name of the Family civil society group on Thursday described as unacceptable plans by the ruling majority to push through a law on the financing of political activities, election campaigns and referendums, saying that by trying to have the law adopted before the elections for the European Parliament, the ruling HDZ party was trying to win more money for the financing of its election campaign.
The bill, which is being discussed by the parliament, raises the maximum allowed amount for electioneering purposes from kuna 1.5 million to 4 million per slate, which means that the HDZ and its coalition partners would have three times more money at their disposal, the group said.
It particularly objected to the bill being discussed under fast-track procedure, without a third reading, and to plans for the law to go into force eight days after its publication in the Official Journal, with retroactive application of some of its regulations.
This, the group says, is contrary to recommendations by the Venice Commission that election legislation, including rules on campaign financing, should not be changed one year before elections.
By adopting such a law, the prime minister would be abusing the parliamentary majority for unfair political competition and so that “the HDZ could have as much influence on voters as possible,” the group said.
It recalled that the bill “is almost a complete copy of the Social Democratic Party-sponsored bill from 2015 against which the HDZ voted at the time, and is now imposing it, following the scam with the referendum on the election system.”
In the Name of the Family also warned that the bill equated ad hoc civic initiatives with political parties which, it says, receive millions of kuna from the state budget and have employees and the necessary infrastructure, and planned to lay the same administrative burden on them as for political parties.
In the Name of the Family believes that the purpose of the bill is also to make the financing of referendums more complicated for citizens.
Earlier in the day, the opposition MOST party, dissatisfied with the bill on the financing of political activities, election campaigns and referendums, submitted more than 900 amendments to the bill and asked for a third reading.
More news about elections in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.