Kathmandu June 22 Political Parties Registration (Amendment and Codification) Bill proposes public funding for political parties to ensure that elections are not influenced by money. The Election Commission, which prepared the draft of the bill, has proposed that the parties having won 1.5 per cent votes in the first-past-the-post election should be provided with state funds. The bill proposes to distribute 40 per cent of the state fund among all the parties and the remaining 60 per cent on the basis of the parties’ vote share. The bill also proposes that the state should provide more grant assistance to those parties who have ensured more than prescribed percentage of representation of women and Dalits in the Parliament. There is also a provision for voluntary donation by individuals and organisations to the political parties. Bhutan is the only country in the region to implement this provision, which the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia is also advocating in the region. Acting Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said the bill, if enacted into law, would help maintain the purity of election. “We often hear money and muscle power influencing the election results. Our proposal will help control that by creating equal playing field for the political parties,” Yadav added. The bill also proposes that the political parties receive all donations above Rs 25,000 through banks. Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said the thrust of the new bill was to ensure and promote financial transparency, accountability, democratic practices and inclusion within the political parties. Clandestine funding breeds corruption, she added. The bill also proposes that the parties have proportional inclusive structures at all levels of party structure. President of INHURED International Gopal Krishna Siwakoti said he was in favour of state-funded election campaign but abrupt end to the current practice could be counter-productive. Siwakoti, however, said the state should start state-funded election campaign gradually which will help maintain the purity of the election. Siwakoti said the state needed to determine as to who – the tax payer or the external donor - would help put money in election campaign fund to be created by the state. “Tax payers’ money meant for social security programmes, education and health sector should not be siphoned off for political parties’ election campaign,” he added. Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries Pashupati Murarka said it would be a good start if the government could create a separate fund for funding election campaigns of the political parties. “But once state creates a separate fund to finance election campaign of political parties, the political parties should be prohibited from seeking private donations from businesses,” he said. When a political party seeks money from a businessperson, Murarka added, they try to return the favour and that is how corruption starts.
EC moots public funding for parties
Published: 04:01 am Jun 23, 2016