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Greek parties do not account for government money spent

10 December 2010 / 12:12:44  GRReporter
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Greek parties do not keep books of accounts of their receipts and expenditures and state funding for them is even higher than in countries like Germany. This became clear during the presentation of the results of the report on Corruption Barometer drawn up by Transparency International.

After telling the story of the Transparency International foundation in Berlin in 1993, the current President of the Greek branch Konstantinos Bakouris presented the results of the poll on corruption in the world and in Greece. A total of 91,781 people from 86 countries and 1000 people from Greece were involved in the poll conducted by Gallup International. For the first time the barometer examined people’s inclination to contribute to the fight against corruption. The conclusions that apply to all countries show that corruption has increased over the past three years. People in Greece believe it reaches 4.6 from the highest grade of 5. "Corruption has increased by 21% in comparison with 2004," said Mr. Bakouris.

According to the Greeks, the most corrupt are political parties (4.6), the parliament and legislators (4.3) and the media (4.3), and the army takes the last place (2.9). The difference between the Greek and international trends in public opinion is that the media in general occupy one of the last places on corruption in the world. According to the global survey, the first place is usually taken by political parties, parliament and then the police, the religious institutions, the private sector.
Very common in both Greece and the world is corruption at retail and the major reason for this is "to avoid problems with government institutions." An interesting, but very unpleasant finding of the study is that young people and the poor give bribes the most as they can easily succumb to manipulation. "It is optimistic that there is willingness on the part of politicians and support from the citizens to fight corruption," said Mr. Bakouris, who noted the urgent need to take action to increase transparency in connection with the funding and spending of political parties in Greece. The President of the Greek Transparency International said that he has a meeting appointed with the President Karolos Papoulias and with the leaders of political parties in the coming days to present the findings and seek commitment on their part for concrete actions.

Sirigos Angelos – a member of Transparency International – spoke on the issue of "political money" and gave recommendations on how to achieve transparency. The survey was conducted last year, but the topic was pursued and attracted the interest 11 years ago when during the elections - local or parliamentary, we filed complaints of procedure violation, which have never received a reply. They have decided to engage in political money on this base because they believe it is at the heart of the poor condition of the state. There are 15 main proposals, but the total number of proposals with their entries is 43 as the essential is to improve controls substantially.

The most important proposal is to improve the work of committees to control the finances of politicians. There is currently a committee to control the cost of elections, involving MPs, and the proposal is the people who participate in this committee to deal exclusively with this monitoring without being representatives of political parties at the same time. One of the conclusions of the report is that there are too many committees such as local committees to control the elections but they have not shown any results of their activities so far and it is best to be closed.
An important point to achieve greater transparency in the accounts of the parties is to open a single bank account for the money in support of a party or a politician. Unfortunately, parties and politicians are allowed to have many bank accounts and can obtain a bribe in this way. Transparency International required the identity of the depositor of an amount in favour of a party or a politician to be always known. There is also an option the supporters of a party to be able to financially support their favourites by a telephone message as practiced in America. Mr. Sirigos proposed during the discussions on finances a budget for treats to be determined so that lawmakers, mostly from the country, to be able to treat people in the cafeteria from time to time and to account for the party with a receipt. Another proposal is each part to be funded according to the size of its electorate.

It is necessary in this connection the parties to begin book-keeping – a practice unknown to them so far. After the scandalous revelation that parties get loans from banks with the guarantee that they will receive a government subsidy in the coming years, Transparency International offered this practice of lending to be stopped and the banks to lend money only against a guarantee for a state subsidy for the current year. Therefore, the Greek organization that is fighting against corruption considers it necessary to enact laws for the functioning of political parties, which will require transparency in economic exchange and method of selecting candidates for members of parliament so that this right belongs to all citizens who are party members or are interested to be involved in politics.

To facilitate the tracking of party funding and greater transparency legal entities would be allowed to subsidize political parties but a maximum amount for funding should be determined. According to the operating law, only individuals can sponsor the parties.

An important proposal is to change the system of filing tax return for the assets of politicians focusing on how certain properties are acquired, not the fact that they exist as their acquiring for a short period of time raises questions.

Tags: NewsPoliticsTransperancyCorruptionPartiesFunding
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