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Bulgaria

In law
76
In practice
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Bulgaria's fairly strong legal framework on political finance is often undermined by in practice violations. Parties are entitled to state subsidies, which they usually receive, but little information on those subsidies is available to the public. Subsidized access to advertising is provided for in the law. However, in contravention of the law, some parties are charged higher rates for campaign spots than others. Non-financial state resources, in practice, featured during the 2013 campaign. Contributions are highly restricted in Bulgaria, as is electoral spending. Nevertheless, in practice, many violations of these limits occurred during the 2013 elections, and parties often find ways by which to circumvent the formal system. Parties are required to report their financial information both within and outside of campaigns, but do not always do in practice, nor do they provide complete lists of their contributors. Further, in practice, financial information is not always available to the public. The independent activities of third party actors are not regulated, and some parties use informally affiliated groups to undertake political activities during campaigns. The National Audit Office (NAO) is the oversight authority charged with monitoring political finance, but it lacks the explicit legal power to investigate potential violations. The independence and efficacy of the NAO is somewhat compromised due to deficits of independence and merit regarding its appointees. That said, it has sufficient capacity to carry out its functions, and does sanction parties who fail to comply with reporting requirements. Nevertheless, repeat violators are frequent. The evidence suggests that, because of the fashion in which many ostensibly independent institutions, including the NAO, are compromised by political influence, equitable enforcement of political finance in Bulgaria is lacking.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        The Party Law states that political parties shall be financed with their own funds and funds from state subsidies (Art. 21), that the state subsidy is to be given yearly to parties registered with the Central Electoral Commission to participate in elections, parties that have participated in last election and have MPs (Art. 25.1), and to parties which do not currently have MPs, but have received at least 1% of all valid votes in the last parliamentary election (Art. 26). Every political party receives its subsidy in four equal parts payable up to 30th of April, June, September and 20th of December of the given year (Art. 28.1) State funds can be spent for preparation and participation in elections, for supporting the work of party structures, for organizational expenses on holding events and for other expenses related to the activity of the party (Art 29.1).

        State funding is provided only to political parties and not to individual candidates. Individual candidates in Bulgaria need to be nominated by the so-called initiative committees - a group of people who by their signatures signify that in their names they nominate person X to represent them if elected. These initiative committees raise funds on their own, and they do not get public funding.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 21, 25, 26, 28, 29. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 150. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 162. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        2
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        The amount of public funding for political parties in Bulgaria is regulated in the Party Law and the Law of the State Budget. The Party Law states that the state subsidy is to be given yearly to parties registered with the Central Electoral Commission to participate in elections, parties that have participated in last election and have MPs (Art. 25.1), and that the amount of the state subsidy allocated in the budget is to be determined based on the votes received by each party and coalition (Art. 25.2). The state subsidy given to coalitions is allocated according to the coalition agreement, and if such is absent then proportionally based on the votes received from each party (Art. 25. 3).

        A state subsidy is also given to parties which do not currently have MPs, but have received at least 1% of all valid votes in the last parliamentary election (Art. 26). The total sum for subsidies to political parties is determined annually with the Law on the State Budget based on the received votes and the subsidy per vote is also determined in the Law on the State Budget annually (Art. 27.1). The manner in which the money is given to the political parties is determined by the Minister of Finance (Art 27.2). In the Law for the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2014 the state subsidy for one vote is 11BGN, which is 5.62€ per vote (Art. 63).

        Thus, the allocations of public funding to parties are clearly defined according to an equitable mechanism and clear eligibility criteria. However, as explained in indicator 1, this funding is only allocated to political parties, and not to individual candidates, who are themselves nominated by initiative committees.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. As a additional guarantee for transparency of the direct public funding for the electoral campaign, amendments recently adopted by the Electoral law (2014) require the media to make distinction between payless (subsidized by public funds) and paid (by the candidates themselves) emissions and to make it public during the broadcasting.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 25,26,27. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        Law for the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2014 (In Bulgarian: ????? ?? ????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ???????? ?? 2014 ?.), passed on December 9th, 2013. Relevant articles: 63. Source: http://dv.parliament.bg/DVWeb/showMaterialDV.jsp?idMat=81175 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        Reviewer's sources: Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 179. http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian), accessed 27/10/2014.

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        The mechanism for allocation of state subsidy, which is clearly stated in the Law for Political Parties (Art. 27), has remained the same, is publicly known, and is always followed. Antoaneta Tzoneva, leader of IPED, the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, stated that the mechanism is transparent – 5% from the minimum wage per received vote for all political parties receiving at least 1% of the popular vote – and everyone interested in knowing how much a given political party receives, can easily calculate that knowing how many votes the party has received.

        What is not so clear is the amount of money received by political parties that are part of a coalition, because they have a coalition agreement which is between them and the Minister of Finance, and is not made public, nor is requested to be made public by the law (Tzoneva, 2014).

        The two news articles also mention that the mechanism for allocating public funding to political parties, which has been debated quite a bit in 2013, has remained the same. Some propositions for lowering the subsidy to 50% and taking away the subsidy from parties that are not members of parliament have not been accepted (Rilska, 2014). There will be a lowering in the amount received per vote with the next budget (Mediapool.bg), and the amount was lowered from 12 BGN to 11 BGN ($7.58) with the 2014 budget.

        However, as explained in indicator 1, this funding is only allocated to political parties, and not to individual candidates, who are themselves nominated by initiative committees.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. The Institute for Public Environment Development (IPED) is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. ‘The mechanism for public subsidies for political parties remains the same, the lowering (of the annually determined amount) – with the new budget’, news article from the online media, Mediapool.bg, from 18.07.2013, available here: http://www.mediapool.bg/mehanizmat-na-subsidii-za-partiite-se-zapazva-namalenieto---s-noviya-byudzhet-news209028.html (accessed July 23, 2014).

        3. ‘Final: The mechanism on determining public subsidies to political parties remains unchanged, lowering of the amount, next year’, Bilyana Rilska, Dnevnik Daily, July 18, 2013; available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2013/07/18/2105538okonchatelnobezpromiananasubsidiitezapartiites/?ref=rss (accessed July 23, 2014).

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        0
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Information of the disbursement of public funds to political parties is virtually non-existent – something confirmed in the interview with the representative of the Institude for Public Environment Development. Antoaneta Tzoneva states that despite the amount of public funding parties will receive (which everyone can calculate), people do not know when, how and to whom exactly public money is transferred. The agency responsible for oversight of public finances of political parties, the Bulgarian National Audit Office, published the annual financial reports of political parties, but not how exactly and who exactly gets the money.

        A thorough article about political party financing and how overly financed parties in Bulgaria are is available in SEGA daily by Docent Dr. Nikolov. Therefore however, again nothing is said to be revealed as to when and where political parties received money and how much. All the figures reported are retrospective, and are based on the publicly published financial reports of the political parties. The Ministry of Finance does provide quarterly budget reports (http://www.minfin.bg/bg/page/850), however, there are no transfers to political parties and dates there.

        In a Position Statement about the financing of political parties, the leader of Party of the Greens, Dr. Hristo Dunchev, states that the current situation with the use and abuse of public financing of political parties in Bulgaria shows the inability of the state and the people to control the political process and that the current public subsidy scheme provides an opportunity for the same political parties to remain in the political elite forever.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. An information request made on behalf of the peer reviewer was denied by the Ministry of Finance.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. The Institude for Public Environment Development (IPED) is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. ‘Non-parliamentary parties will also get state funding’, Maria Papazova (Dnes.bg), July 18, 2013. Available here: http://www.dnes.bg/politika/2013/07/18/i-partiite-izvyn-ns-shte-vzimat-dyrjavni-pari.194008 (accessed July 23, 2014).

        3. Position of Party of the Greens on the Financing of Political Parties and their State Subsidizing, Dr. Hristo Dunchev, July 06, 2013. Available in Bulgarian here: http://partianazelenite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/%D1%84%D0%B8%D0%BD.%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82..doc (accessed July 23, 2014).

        4. Ministry of Finance webpage, accessed on Dec 18, 2014, http://www.minfin.bg/bg/page/850

        Reviewer's sources: Response from the Finance Ministry, dated February 24, 2015. https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ajgj5ysxehatf6/Min%20fin%20otgovor%20%28Bulgaria%20%234%29.pdf?dl=0

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
        Score
        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        According to the electoral rules valid during the period of study, as of February 21st, 2013, there is a specific clause in the Bulgarian Electoral Law that prohibits the free use of public administrative resources (such as office supplies, staff, vehicles, ect. although these are not specified in the law per se) for electoral campaigns (Art. 152.3 in the 2013 Electoral Law and Art. 168.3 from the current Electoral law).

        The old and new electoral laws also have a clause about the prohibition of use of state and municipal transport for pre-electoral campaigning (Art. 134.4 in the 2013 Electoral Law and Art. 182.3 from the current Electoral law). The new Electoral Law, valid as of March 2014, also stipulates that campaigning is prohibited in state institutions or institutions with more than 50% state ownership (Art. 182.1) and that people who work in unions cannot campaign at their workplace (Art. 182. 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152.3. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168.3. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The use of state resources for electoral purposes is forbidden since recently by the law, and it is very difficult to be detected in practice (Tzoneva, 2014). According to the leader of IPED, there is little criticism over this and it is not a matter of discussion and importance as it is in other societies.

        Little additional evidence was found on the subject, despite a thorough internet search. Most material discussing political parties spending focuses on defining the exact meaning of state resources. In a Parliamentary report on the proposition of changes in the Electoral Law, it is stated that one of things asked for by the people is the ban of use of state resources. A decision of the Central Electoral Commission on the financing of the electoral campaigns defines the ban as prohibiting the use of public administrative resources which include any budgetary resources, building, vehicles, planes and other transport means, office supplies, and real estate which has been given to the administration, the state and regional units, and the state and regional enterprises.

        There was one related ruling of a court case in a town called Sliven, which is about a complaint that a certain political party has been using public resources for its own electoral campaign. The story is about an annual small town celebration, where the population is predominantly from an ethnic minority. The allegation is that from the stage in addition to singers, people were shouting a name of a political party in Turkish and urging others to vote for them in the upcoming election. A 1000 BGN (currently 660 USD) penalty fee has been imposed by a local court, but a larger regional court, where the party appealed, ruled off the penalty with the claim that the receipts of what was paid and by who and the dates, do not prove that on the specific day of the allegation the stage was paid for by state funds.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In its preliminary report on monitoring the general elections (2014), the OSCE mission makes a conclusion that "some political parties at times campaigned in municipal or state-owned premises". GERB, BSP, MRF, Ataka, and Bulgaria Without Censorship campaigned in a number of hospitals, community centers and schools. The GERB website shows more tham 10 inauguration events in kindergarden, schools, playgrounds and bus stops.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources
        1. ‘Summary Report on the Propositions for Legal Changes from Organizations and Citizens, from the Interaction with Civic Organizations and Movements Committee in Parliament, July 5, 2013. Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.parliament.bg/bg/parliamentarycommittees/members/2081/reports/ID/4132

        2. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        3. Court Case Decision 71, Sliven, March 11th, 2014. Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.admcourt-sl.org/uploads/0074d813/37021914.htm

        4. Central Electorate Commission Decision 106 from April 9, 2014. Available in Bulgarian here: https://www.cik.bg/reshenie/?no=106&date=09.04.2014

        Reviewer's sources: OSCE International Election Observation Mission; R. of Bulgaria – Early Parliamentary elections 5 October 2014, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, p.1, 7 http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/bulgaria/125140

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        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        According to the Bulgarian Electoral Law (2013), all electoral candidates have equal access to the media for their electoral campaigns (Art. 129). Article 139.3 specifically states that the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio, where the electoral campaigns are to be broadcast, must comply with the principles of equality and objectivity when featuring the campaign materials. The prices are made by the Council of Ministers and are announced at least 40 days before Election Day (Art. 147).

        The Electoral Law of March 2014 includes the existing clauses in Articles 176 and 177 and adds a new article on Resources for Media Packages (Art. 178). It specifies that the state gives 40,000 BGN (26,400 USD) to parties and coalitions which have registered Presidential candidates or parliamentary candidates in all electoral districts, which do not receive public funding (Art. 178.1) so that they can have a somewhat 'equal' chance to buy broadcasting time; the state also gives 40,000 BGN (26,400 USD) to initiative committees which have registered Presidential candidates and 5,000 BGN if they have registered parliamentary candidates. These funds are to be used for payment of media coverage for electoral campaigns (Art. 178.3), the Central Electoral Commission pays the bills of the respective parties until the funds are exhausted (Art. 178.4), the procedure for granting and spending for media packages is determined by the Central Election Commission in consultation with the Minister of Finance, and the parties and coalitions receiving these funds have to include that in the Public Register (a register created for each election to store relevant data on parties) (Art. 178.6).

        The new law, also states in Article 193 that each electoral campaign is to be opened and closed in the national media (TV and radio) with 40 second clips of political parties, coalitions and initiative committees (Art. 193.1) for parliamentary elections and with a 3 minute introduction for presidential candidates (Art. 193.2).

        The 2013 law prohibits the publication and broadcasting of anonymous materials related to the electoral campaign (Art. 130), and allows the ‘right to answer’ (Art. 132) according to the guidelines of Art. 18 of the Law on Radio and Television. This means that when there has been a broadcast that hurts the good name of a specific candidate, the latter can within 24 hours request ‘an answer’, which is to be broadcasted in the same place (same media outlet), in the same manner, format and without commentary (Art. 131.1), free of charge (Art. 131.2).

        Interestingly, Art. 18 of the Law on Radio and Television specifies that people whose reputation has been hurt by a specific broadcast have 7 days within which they can appeal to the specific media for an answer, providing citations of the time, date and statement which is hurtful to their name (Art. 18.2). This does not match the 24 hour period allocated for request for an answer specified in the Electoral Law of 2013.

        An initiative committee is the term used in Bulgarian legislation for the group of people who need to formally support the candidacy of an independent candidate (they will collect the required number of signatures in support of the candidacy, collect funds, etc.).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 129, 130, 131, 132, 139, 147. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 176,177,178, 193. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Law on Radio and Television passed on 24th November 1998 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 18. Source: http://www.lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/2134447616 (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        A journalist covering political party finance, says that there is no free airtime in Bulgaria. Even the national television and radio charge for airtime, but it is substantially lower (it is in a way subsidized). With the new law, small players that do not get public funding, and are thus disadvantaged in being able to buy media exposure, have been given 40000BGN (2570 USD)for these purposes. During the October 2014 elections, there have not been any violations in the distribution of this funding. Funds were provided and they were used for the purposes provided, being paid as reimbursement for such expenses.

        The question of media coverage and the equity among political candidates has been discussed a lot in Bulgaria in the last year and there have been many demands about this also at the public protests against the Oresharski government. According to Antoaneta Tzoneva, there are two ways in which electoral coverage can happen – paid and free or subsidized. The latter has allocated time according to law, but the TV and radio do not have a certain amount of hours allocated for campaign materials for example. Most influence thus depends on how much money is spent.

        This reflects the demands of the public for a fair and equal coverage of all candidates. As stated in the Parliamentary Report on Media Coverage, the propositions given by civil society organization, movements and people, that have been received have to do with a) equality in the media access of all political parties and candidates (including in the time between elections), b) free air time for all political parties and candidates, and c) control and standardization of campaign materials (leaflets, etc.). There is definite popular support for the provision of more free public airtime. Since even the public airtime in Bulgaria costs money, but it is cheaper compared to private broadcasting, by introducing the so-called media packages in the new Electoral Law incumbent political parties have tried to 'pretend' that they have given to those public demands for more equality. However, in essence, as the article which is discussed below states, this has been more of a way to 'play' the small parties, rather than meet their demands.

        The current situation reflects partially some of the propositions and demands. As Obretenov (2014) states in his article the small parties have been played (in a way because something has been given, but not to the extent of their demands) with the so-called media packages. According to him the media packages are an attempt to satisfy the desire of smaller formations and initiative committees to have access to the media during the campaign. He is doubting that this will put them in equal basis however, since parliamentary parties receive millions from the Treasury every year.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Although the Electoral law (2013) requirements (art. 138, 138a and 148) to the media to publish on their Internet page information about contracts’ provisions and prices of parties’ election campaign coverage and to submit it to the NAO and election commissions, during the general elections 2013, only 10.17% of the media fulfilled this obligation. For the EU parliamentary elections this figure is 27,08%.

        During the EU parliamentary elections (2014) only 56.25% of the monitored by “Transparency without borders” media companies complied with the requirements of the art. 187 and 198 (Electoral law) to guarantee the transparency of information, concerning the terms and prices of contracts for candidates’ electoral campaign. For the general elections (2013), this figure was 50.28%.

        Transparancy and Integrity in the Election Process, Report on the monitoring of the 42nd National Assembly elections, held on 12 May 2013, Transparency international-Bulgaria, ?.46 http://www.transparency.bg/en/publications/ accessed 25/10/2014

        Transparency and Integrity in the Electoral process: Report on the monitoring of the Electoral process for EU parliamentary members from R. Bulgaria, held 25 May 2014, (in Bulgarian) p.31 http://www.transparency.bg/bg/publications/2014/

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for the Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. ‘Deputies cheated the small parties by providing them with small sums for electoral campaigns’, Luben Obretenov, SEGA (Now) Daily, Issue 4923 (48), February 26, 2014. Available here: http://www.segabg.com/article.php?id=687882 (accessed on July 23, 2014)

        3. ‘Report on the Media Coverage of Electoral Campaigns’ from the Interaction with Civic Organizations and Movements Committee in Parliament, July 30, 2013. Available here, in Bulgarian: http://www.parliament.bg/bg/parliamentarycommittees/members/2081/reports/ID/4249.

        4. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers, requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

    More about category
    composite
    82
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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
      More about category
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        9
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        Both the 2013 and the 2014 laws state that any income or spending of a political party in relation to its electoral campaign that exceeds 1000 BGN (roughly 600 USD) needs to be executed with a bank transaction (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 154.4; 2014 Electoral Law, Art.170.1).

        In addition, when a donation exceeds 1000 BGN the National Audit Office investigates the amount donated in relation to the income of the person offering the donation. The audit is done for the period from the previous national election to the moment of the declaration (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 154.5; 2014 Electoral Law, Art.170.2)

        However, the law does not have any specific guidelines for donations under the 1000 BGN benchmark. Hence, here is where cash donations can happen.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 154. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 170. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        10
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        YES
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        Both the old and new Electoral Laws ban the financing of electoral campaigns by anonymous contributions. The 2013 Electoral Law says that anonymous contributions in any form are prohibited (Art. 152.1).

        The Law on Political Parties also stimulates that the financing of political parties cannot come from anonymous contributions in any form (Political Parties Act, Art. 24.1) – this clause had been added to the law in 2011.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 24. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        11
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        YES
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        According to the Bulgarian Electoral Law, both previous and current, political parties and candidates are allowed in-kind donations from private persons, but they have to include a declaration of ownership (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 154.3, 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 169.3). The names of those who have provided in-kind donations, as wel as the declarations of ownership, must be reported to the Public Register monitored by the National Audit Office (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 158.2.4&5, 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 171.2.7&8).

        In addition, within 30 days of Election Day, the person responsible for the party/initiave committee accounting must report to the National Audit Office all income and spending of the party, including the origins of all donations and the declarations of ownership (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 159.1 & 2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 172.1).

        Furthermore, according to the Political Parties Act (Art. 24.3), political parties are allowed to receive in-kind donations, which are the full ownership of private persons or are services done fully with their own labor.

        There are no limits to in-kind contributions, other than that they have to be given only by private persons (not organizations, companies, foreign governments, foreign citizens, or religious institutions).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles:154, 158, 159. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 169, 171, 172. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles:24. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        12
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        According to the Law on Political Parties, parties may use bank loans in the amount of 2/3 of their income declared to the National Audit Office for the previous calendar year (Art. 23.3). Political parties must submit a financial report to the National Audit Office every year and it needs to include information on all their income and spending (Art. 34.1), which includes loans. If the report exceeds 50,000 BGN (roughly 33,000 USD), the financial report must be audited by an independent auditor prior to submission to the NAO (Art. 34.2).

        The Electoral Laws do not say anything about loans, so there is no requirement to report on loans during electoral cycles. Thus, candidates are not ever required to report on loans, and parties are required only during their annual financial reports.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 23, 34. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
      More about category
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        13
        Score
        YES
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is a limit to the maximum amount of contributions by individials to political parties (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 151.1; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 167.1) and this is 10,000 BGN (6,913 USD) per calendar year.

        The same is valid for donations to initiative committees or their respectively registered candidates (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 151.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 167.2). The Law on Political Parties stipulates the same clause in regards to funding of political parties – that individual contributions cannot exceed 10,000 BGN per calendar year.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 151. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 167. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 23. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        14
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        According to the legislation governing the Bulgarian electoral process, as well as the Bulgarian political parties, donations from corporations or any legal persons are not allowed (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.1.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.1.2).

        The same is specified in the Law on Political Parties (Art. 24.1.2). In-kind donations from corporations and legal persons are also forbidden (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.2; Political Parties Act, Art. 24.2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 24. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        15
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        YES
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        All three relevant laws – the two Electoral Laws and the Law on Political Parties ban donations from foreign persons, governments, institutions. Financial support for electoral campaigns from foreign persons is prohibited (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.1.3&5; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.1.3&5; Political Parties Act, Art. 24.1.4).

        Political parties are also not allowed to receive any in-kind donations from foreign sources (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.2; Political Parties Act, Art. 24.2).

        The only exception is given to donations from foreign persons who also have legal rights according to the Electoral Law (i.e. private persons with dual citizenship).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168 . Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 24. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        16
        Score
        YES
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        According to the legislation governing the Bulgarian electoral process, as well as the Bulgarian political parties, donations from corporations or any legal persons are not allowed (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.1.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.1.2). The same is specified in the Law on Political Parties (Art. 24.1.2). In-kind donations from corporations and legal persons are also forbidden (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.2; Political Parties Act, Art. 24.2).

        This is essentially the same answer as in question 14 because in Bulgaria corporations and third-party actors are both under the abstract title of ‘legal persons’ and none of them are allowed to contribute to the livelihood of parties or their electoral campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 24. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        17
        Score
        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        In the 2013 Electoral law the maximum limit of campaign spending for political parties and coalitions taking part in parliamentary elections was 4,000,000 BGN (2,747,662 USD) and 200,000 BGN (137,383 USD) for initiative committees (Art. 155. 1.1). For Presidential elections the limits are 2,000,000 BGN (1,373,831 USD) for political parties and 100,000 BGN (68,691 USD) for initiative committees (Art. 155.1.2).

        In 2014, the cap for political parties has been lowered to 3,000,000 BGN (2,060,746 USD) (Art. 165.1.1); everything else has remained the same.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 155. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 165. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        18
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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        Political finance is regulated only by national laws. There is no specific regulation for sub-national units. This has been stated by Antoaneta Tzoneva and is confirmed by the legal regulations stated in previous questions. The same is said by Alexander Kashumov. Political parties have a national registration, not different ones. The party can choose whether to apply at national or regional level or both, but the laws governing political parties are the same. Contribution and expenditure limits are set by the national laws.

        The statute of Political Party ‘RepublicaBG’ has numerous clause about regional representatives, while in Art. 1 it claims that the party has been established based on the (national) Law on Political Parties. Art. 49, discussing the finances of the party, also states that the finances of the party are to be governed according to the law [on political parties].

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        3. Statute of Political Party ‘RepublicaBG’ – a new political party which has officially registered in July 2013. Available in Bulgarian, here: http://republica.bg/documents/program/ustav-23/ (accessed July 26, 2014).

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        19
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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The predominant sources for electoral campaigns come from political parties’ public funding, states Antoaneta Tsoneva from IPED. According to a study which her organization has done, the major portion, about 90%, of the money used for campaigns are public. The rest comes from donations. All of the funds used are registered in the so-called Public Register at the National Audit Office. Tzoneva adds that 50% of the campaign funds are used for media expenses; she says that Bulgarian politicians’ campaigns are largely media driven. This is confirmed by the included link to one of the parliamentary parties’ 2013 campaign reports. It is clear from there that 100% of the money spent in the campaign came from public funding.

        For non-parliamentary political parties or independent candidates, such as presidential candidate Meglena Kuneva, the larger portion of the funds used for campaigning come from donations from persons. As specified in the news article cited above, Kuneva spent 295,000 BGN (194,670 USD) on her electoral campaign, more than 191,000 BGN (126,040 USD) of which were from donations.

        Asked whether there are ‘doors’ for circumventing the rules on political party financing, Vanya Nusheva from Transparency International says that the auditing institution needs more experts and one of the biggest problems for the control over parties’ finances is the conflict of interest. And while the legal framework has stabilized in the last few years, there are still glitches – one is the fact that experts and citizens can never really determine whether the declared money reflect the money which was actually spent.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources
        1. ‘There is a need for more experts for checking the origins of the finances of political parties’, a conversation with Vanya Nusheva (Transparency International) in the Morning Show of BG On Air, March 14, 2014. Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.bgonair.bg/sutreshen-blok/2014-03-14/neobhodimi-sa-poveche-eksperti-za-proveryavane-finansiraneto-na-partiite

        2. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        3. Financial Report for the Electoral Campaign of Political Party GERB for the parliamentary elections 2013. Available in Bulgarian, here: http://www.gerb.bg/uf/pages/OtchetPISmetnaPalataGERB2013.pdf

        4. ‘Kuneva has made a pre-electoral campaign for 295000 BGN’, June 28, 2012, online news article. Available here: http://www.novini.bg/news/73225-%D0%BA%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B0-%D0%B5-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D0%B7%D0%B0-295-%D1%85%D0%B8%D0%BB-%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B0.html

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        20
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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        In an interview, Antoaneta Tzoneva, chair of IPED, said that there are no real violations documented. Political parties have to provide financial reports for their income and spending yearly, and 30 days after Election Day. The National Audit Office checks the documents thoroughly and according to her if there are inconsistencies they are small and negligent – for example, that some small sums do not comply with the rules for donations. The real issue is the ‘black side’ of the campaign and this money is difficult to track and sanction. The most recent precedent in a new political party, led by a guy called Barekov, who had the most expensive electoral campaign in the EP elections that just passed, and whose image is all over the media concerning the origins of the donations which his party claims to have had. One of the other problems according to Tzoneva is the fact that the forms with which the parties have to claim their expenses are like company accounting sheets and are thus difficult for real itemization and she believes they are quite unsuitable for the purpose.

        According to Dnevnik Daily and a national television, BTV, investigation, there has been identity stealing for donations in the electoral campaign of Barekov. Similar allegations are also in the OpenParliament platform, which states that over ¾ of the donations for his party are above the minimum wage and 46% of them lack proper proof of origin (as opposed to ¼ for another political party). Additionally, a TI report on the 2013 election states that there have been instances in multiple times the same sums just under the 1,000 BGN (660 USD) threshold entered, as if to escape the origin of the money. “there were suspected cases of attempts to legalize funds of shady origin by declaring them as donations from private individuals who are not the actual owners of the donated funds (an indication of this were the numerous donations of equal size right below the threshold of BGN 1,000 to avoid the mandatory bank transfer of the amounts and hence the check for correspondence with the income of the donors).” (TI report 2013, 48)

        Included in the sources is also the report of the National Audit Office on the auditing of the financial reports of the political parties after the parliamentary elections in 2013. Some of the violations that are listed there, are: 6 political parties have not given data on the persons who gave them in-kind donations, 15 political parties have not provided the information for donors, 12 political parties have not included the document for origin of funds for donations above the minimum wage. So there are violations, but the documented ones are somewhat small-scale. The large scale violations are those such as the new party of Barekov, but besides noise in the media, not much else has been done thus far.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Instances of violations of contributions and contributions are very seldom documented since there is sophisticated means to circumvent the legal provisions. Most often private companies, corporations or oligarchs buy voters for certain party, coalition, independent candidates directly. On their expenses they organize cultural/sportive initiatives, which are used by political parties for electoral propaganda purposes. (The case with “Bulgaria without censure” party during the 2014 general elections) The resources allocated don’t pass through the parties’ budget and are not subject to report or control. This way the financial contributions are out of the legal provisions regulating the political parties (electoral campaigns) financial support. This is way to circumvent the law need other legal instruments to counter it. That’s also the case with the support of some political demonstrations. There were journalistic disclosures that some of the protesters, participating in the rallies in 2013-2014 against Orecharski cabinet were paid most likely by oligarchs, close to political figures, but not directly by parties.

        In its audit reports NAO present some findings about violations of contributions/expenditure limits, but they are insignificant, done mainly by negligence, rather than deliberately.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources
        1. ‘Leaders from Two Parliamentary Parties are with Violation Acts from the National Audit Office’, Dnevnik, March 13, 2014, Article available here, in Bulgarian (accessed July, 2014): http://www.dnevnik.bg/video/2014/03/13/2260592lideritenadveparlamentarnipartiisasaktove_za/

        2. ‘Political Party Attack alerts the National Audit Office and the Prosecution for the Donations of Barekov’, Dnevnik, June 9, 2014. Article available here, in Bulgarian (accessed July, 2014): http://www.dnevnik.bg/izbori2014/2014/06/09/2318769atakavnesesignalvsmetnatapalataiprokuraturata/

        3. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for the Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        4. ‘The Party of Barekov has recruited donors without their knowledge’, BTV investigation, report available here, in Bulgarian: http://btvnews.bg/article/bulgaria/regionalni-novini/balgariya-bez-tsenzura-nabirala-dariteli-bez-tyahno-znanie.html

        5. ‘Half of the donations for Barekov which are above the minimum wage are without declarations for origin’, OpenParliament, June 25, 2014. Available in Bulgarian, here: http://openparliament.net/position/view-214

        6. Auditor Report Number ? 0400006813, National Audit Office, Available, in Bulgarian, here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7246/doklad-izbori2014-130314-1.doc

        7. ‘’Leader of DPS Lutvi Mestan is being sanctioned for campaigning in Turkish’, May 10, 2013. Availabe here: http://www.snews.bg/bg/statiya/nakazaha-lyutvi-mestan-za-agitaciya-na-turski-ezik:31419

        8. Transperancy International Report on the Parliamentary Elections of 2013 (see p.48 for relevant discussion). Report available in English here: http://www.transparency.bg/media/publications/Parliamentary%20Elections%202012%20Monitoring%20Report.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with D. Penkov - former executive director of the Institute of public administration, actually working on projects, related to Public/Business Integrity building and combat against corruption, by SKYPE on 26/102014

        Audit Office of the Republic of Bulgaria website. Audit report for the accordance of the declared incomes and real expenditures related to the carried out in 2013 electoral campaign for general elections of the registered participants and nominated candidates. Accessed on Dec 9, 2014. http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/oditen-doklad-po-ik-parlamentarni-izbori-2013-1210

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    56
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Both electoral laws and the party law state that political parties need to submit itemized reports of their finances to the National Audit Office (NAO). According to the law, political parties are required to contribute to the Public Register at NAO, in which during the electoral campaign they have to publish the names of all donors, as well as the type and size of the donation (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 158.2.3; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 171.2.3).

        Within 30 days of the election, the person responsible for the accounting of the party finances has to submit a report to the National Audit Office using the prepared form by the NAO, accompanied with all receipts for spending and declarations for the origin of funds (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 159; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 172).

        The political party also needs to have a register on its own which is supposed to show itemized information for its finances (for elections and everything else) and present this to the public through its website (Political Parties Act, Art. 29.2.1 &2).

        Each political party must submit an annual financial report before March 31st of each year (Political Parties Act, Art. 33). All registered political parties must submit financial reports annually. If a political party fails to do so it jeopardizes its legal existence.

        In addition to their annual financial report, political parties and initiative committees which are supporting individual candidates must submit detailed financial reports of their campaign fundraising and spending. Since the initiative committees are formed only for the elections, they are not subject to report on annual basis, nor is there any law regulating their ability to accepting contributions or making expenditures outside of the official campaign period.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 158, 159 . Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 171, 172 . Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 29,33 . Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        According to both laws financial information needs to be reported on at least the equivalent of ‘monthly’. The electoral campaign in Bulgaria is 30 days. In the 2013 law, it is stated that during the electoral campaign political parties need to submit information about changes in their financial situation every 3 days (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 158.4). This period is extended to 7 days in the law of March 2014 (2014 Electoral Law, Art. 171.2.3). Candidates, whether supported by initiative committees or political parties, are governed by the same law.

        The participants in the elections are also subject to report their itemized contributions and expenditures within 30 days deadline after the elections.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. As additional information, as a guarantee for transparency of the candidates’ expenditures for the electoral campaign, amendments recently adopted by the Electoral law (2014) introduced the submission in the reports of more concrete information about their contracts with the media: subject, terms, total value of the contract, programs on which the clips will be broadcasted etc. This information is not subject to inclusion in the report that the candidates should present within 30 days after the elections before NAO, but it is on the web page of NAO United Electoral register and it is easily to compare the logged on with the data in the report.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 158. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 171. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 180. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian), accessed 27/10/2014)

        Interview with L. Georgieva, expert on the National Assembly, by SKYPE on 28/10/2014

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Political parties in Bulgaria provide annual financial information, as well as after each electoral period. According to the Law on Political Parties, Art. 33.4, until March 31st of every year, political parties should submit their official financial reports to the National Audit Office. They should include also a declaration, as shown by the NAO, which states the persons, amount, and type of donations received. The report must be submitted on paper and electronically.

        The law does not specify anything about candidates outside of the electoral period.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 33. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        The article in Dnevnik Daily gives an overview of the amount of state money each political party has had and that the parties keep the money in banks and get interest. This is obvious, according to the article, from the annual financial reports which the parties have to submit to the National Audit Office. Although the details of the report are not included in the article, it shows that reports are itemized. Political party GERB is noted to have received 23 925 159 BGN (around $16 million) from public subsidy, 550 000 BGN from interest, 64 000 BGN from membership fees. The spending of the party sums up to a little over 10 million BGN, 3.5 million out of which have been given for donations, while the administrative costs are estimated to about 5 million BGN.

        An article in Investor.bg discussed the financial reports of political parties for 2013. It notes that the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the former Communist Party, has reported over 12 billion BGN in income, 1.3 million of which are from membership fees. Later, as the article claims, it has turned out that these number are the result of a typo and that it is not billion but million which is meant.

        The TI report on the monitoring of the 2013 election states that there is an improvement toward transparency in the way electoral campaign money were spent and they quote some degree of itemiziation. Donors are listed, but sometimes not fully or not all. Large sums of money are listed to have been spent for 'other purposes', for example.

        A journalist states that 'they probably submit their reports in time and the NAO publishes them in time, but this applies only to the electoral period. It is a public secret in Bulgaria that political parties spend a lot more money on their campaigns than they are officially allowed, but they declare only part of those in order to stay within the legal limits. Outside of the campaigns though political parties are not so good about keeping their registers. By law they need to publish on their internet pages a donation within 14 days after receiving it, but in this aspect they are all obstructors of the law'.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In terms of the post election reports after the one month campaign period, there is an insufficiency in the law that is considered important by specialists. Transparency of spending in particular is limited as there are no reporting requirements on expenditures prior to election day. (OSCE report general elections 2014) Post factum transparency is necessary but insufficient to guarantee fair and transparent elections financing.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources
        1. ‘Political Parties are Gaining Interest for the State Subsidy’, News Article in Dnevnik, 16 April 2013. Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/izbori2013/2013/04/16/2042602partiitetrupatlihvivurhudurjavnatasubsidiia/

        2. ‘BSP sends a [financial] report for billions to the National Audit Office ’, news article in Investor.bg, 04 April, 2014. Available in Bulgarian, here: http://www.investor.bg/biudjet-i-finansi/333/a/bsp-prati-otchet-za-miliardi-na-smetnata-palata,170544/

        3. Transperancy International Report on the Parliamentary Elections of 2013 (see p.43 for relevant discussion). Report available in English here: http://www.transparency.bg/media/publications/Parliamentary%20Elections%202012%20Monitoring%20Report.pdf

        4. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: International Election Observation Mission; R. of Bulgaria – Early Parliamentary elections 5 October 2014, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, p.8 http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/bulgaria/125140

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        The report of the BSP shows an excel file with details on the type, amount, date, and name for each donation that the political party has received. The report contains only the names of the people who donated and not their address. A journalist states that it is not certain whether political parties report all their donors, and that lately there is a new practice of fraud - buying donors. The journalist goes on to explain that the way in which the scheme works is that due to the ban for corporate donations corporation which want to affect political outcomes sponsor parties by giving cash to many of their employees and having them make personal donations. In this way the role of the corporation is hidden, but this is where the funds come from.

        The article from Dnevnik in regards of the recently published political party financial reports, states that the BSP and Miglena Kuneva have had the most giving donors – again something which shows that there is an extent of itemization, but factors of address or other identifiers are missing.

        The TI report states that there have been instances in multiple times the same sums just under the 1,000 BGN (660 USD) threshold entered, as if to escape disclosing the origin of the money. “there were suspected cases of attempts to legalize funds of shady origin by declaring them as donations from private individuals who are not the actual owners of the donated funds (an indication of this were the numerous donations of equal size right below the threshold of BGN 1,000 to avoid the mandatory bank transfer of the amounts and hence the check for correspondence with the income of the donors).” (TI report 2013, 48)


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. With the United register by the NAO (according to the Electoral law) there is a web page with the list of donators. In it is available information about the name of the donator, village he lives, donated party (coalition, initiative committee), date, kind of contribution, aim, amount, subject or not to separate declaration (under some of the law provisions) There are also published the donators’ declarations (when they’re needed), In them are covered (invisible, removed) the personal ID, the ID cards N, address and signature. The NAO office can compare the summarized financial reports, presented by parties with the data from the register. The oversight institution is in charge to register separately to which extend the declared by the party financial resources fit on the data logged on with the register.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources
        1. Itemized financial report of the Bulgarian Socialist Party for 2013; Available online here: http://erik.bulnao.government.bg/RegDonors/LogOnSite.aspx

        2. ‘BSP and Kuneva with most giving donors’, news article in Dnevnik, 14 April, 2014; Available online, here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2014/04/14/2281503bspikunevasnai-shtedridariteligerbs1mlnlvot/

        3. Transperancy International Report on the Parliamentary Elections of 2013 (see p.48 for relevant discussion). Report available in English here: http://www.transparency.bg/media/publications/Parliamentary%20Elections%202012%20Monitoring%20Report.pdf

        4. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Transparency and Integrity in the Election Process, Report on the monitoring of the 42nd National Assembly elections, held on 12 May 2013, Transparency international-Bulgaria, ?.53, 54, http://www.transparency.bg/en/publications/ 25/10/2014

        International Election Observation Mission; R. of Bulgaria – Early Parliamentary elections 5 October 2014, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, p.2, 10 http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/bulgaria/125140

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        In Bulgaria, political parties are obliged to provide their financial reports within 30 days after the Election Day to the National Audit Office (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 159.1; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 172.1). After that, within 15 days of the deadline for their submission the NAO publishes the reports online on its website (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 159.4; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 172.5). They are then available to the public, free of charge. Candidates and initiative committees are governed under the same law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 159. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 172. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        All sources lead to the conclusion that in practice financial information is not always readily available. According to the law political parties and candidates need to provide financial data which is to be included in a public register (link to this is in the sources), however not all parties provide information and the information provided is not always complete. Some of the material is accessible through an online search and is in a pdf format, though other information is lacking.

        Kashumov is giving an example with the popular case of a group of MPs which became independent in 2011 and whose financial records were not given when a journalist asked for them. This was part of a larger scandal in the country and a puzzle of where does the public subsidy of break-away MPs gos to, does it stay with the original party or does it go to a new party. In this instance, Kashumov states, there was non-transparency.

        According to an interviewed journalist, financial information should be available on the sites of the major parties and at NAO. However, the journalist states that they are often in such format and using such language that someone without experience cannot orient himself. According to this person, financial reports can be requested from NAO under the Law for Public Information. However, AIP reports show that such information is not always easily obtained and often one has to go through a litigation process to get it.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. Public Registers, a single url containing the links to all public registers, information about them. Available here: http://www.publicregisters.info/r/Edinenpublichenregistyrnapartiite_ko/105399/

        3. Transparency International Document with Recommendation on Increasing the Transparency, Reporting and Integrity of the Electoral Process, based on the observation of election 2013; Available in Bulgarian, here (accessed July 26, 2014): http://www.transparency.bg/media/cmspagemedia/141/5Zakonodatelnipromeni5klauza_NPO.pdf

        4. News Article in TEMADaily, from April 15, 2014 about the speculation and misuse of citizens’ personal data. Available here: http://temadaily.bg/publication/17685-%D0%9F%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B8-%D0%B7%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%83%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D1%8F%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%82-%D1%81-%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%BD%D0%B8-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%B8-/

        5. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        6. Financial reports for elections, searchable and available online here: http://erik.bulnao.government.bg/RegDonors/LogOnSite.aspx. Accessed September 2014. [This leads to a number of years in which a certain type of election took pleace. If one clicks on 2013, for example, this leads to links to each election taking place that year. The parliamentary election is the one on the top. Clicking on this is leads to another page where you have a search console. There one types the name of a party or initiave committee they are interested in seeing the reports about. After searching, the first tab is Donors - this is seemingly empty for several parties inspected. The last tab is Financial Report, clicking there, there is usually a report attached.]

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        There are guidelines into what needs to be in the report, as well as the order, however there is not a standardized form, which results in slightly different reports from every political party. There are specific directions on what needs to be included in the financial reports from elections in order to get a standard document from all political parties. There is not one unified form that parties have to fill out, but the guidelines state that each report must contain four sections (for example, collected funds for the electoral campaign, spending over the electoral campaign, etc.) and there are further details on what needs to be included in each section of the report.

        After checking the reports of two of the largest parties in the current parliament – GERB and BSP – it was evident that the format is standardized and easily comparable. For example, GERB has included an itemized accounting sheet of the income and spending for the electoral campaign of 2013, describing the origin of the ‘party’s own funds’ category, for them from public subsidy, while BSP has stated that the funds ‘have been given’, but it is not clear from whom. On the other hand this is the party successive of the former communist party and thus has the largest membership in the country, yet there is no item ‘membership fee’ on its sheet. Political party GERB has included such an item, however it is left empty.

        According to a known journalist, financial information should be available on the sites of the major parties and at NAO. However, the journalist states that they are often in such format and using such language that someone without experience cannot orient himself. According to this person, financial reports can be requested from NAO under the Law for Public Information.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. All information publicized in the Electoral registration register to the NAO is in standarized format, but is only a part of the information subject to report. The final reports delivered after 30 days after the elections are as described in the research are semi-standarized. The reporters follow some guidelines but it is not in a particular standard form.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources
        1. Directions for the submission of financial reports for electoral campaigns, National Audit Office; Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/ukazaniq-za-izgotvqne-na-otchetite-95

        2. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers, in a personal interview.

        3. Electoral reports for the 2013 national election of BSP and GERB. Accessed September 2014. Available respectively, here http://www.bsp.bg/public/files/docs-pub-reg/otcheti/izbori2013/ot4et-izbori-2013.pdf and here http://www.gerb.bg/uf/pages/OtchetPISmetnaPalataGERB2013.pdf

        4. Financial reports for elections, searchable and available online here: http://erik.bulnao.government.bg/RegDonors/LogOnSite.aspx. Accessed September 2014. [This leads to a number of years in which a certain type of election took pleace. If one clicks on 2013, for example, this leads to links to each election taking place that year. The parliamentary election is the one on the top. Clicking on this is leads to another page where you have a search console. There one types the name of a party or initiave committee they are interested in seeing the reports about. After searching, the first tab is Donors - this is seemingly empty for several parties inspected. The last tab is Financial Report, clicking there, there is usually a report attached.]

        Reviewer's sources: Public register to NAO according to the Electoral law, accessed on 26 Oct 2014. http://erik.bulnao.government.bg/RegDonors/LogOnSite.aspx

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        The search for the use of political finance data by journalists clearly shows that this happens regularly in Bulgaria. There is usually a large number of articles as soon as the deadline for submission of the financial reports takes place. The sources included show 5 news articles regarding the reports for the financing of the 2013 electoral campaign. The articles list not only the total amount spent, but also the sum declared to be from donations, as well as the own resources of the candidates.

        Since the EP elections took place very recently, this is the topic which is currently covered, especially the case of the newly formed (break-away) party of Nikolay Barekov, who has had the most expensive electoral campaign and is speculated to have been sponsored by the nominee for the National Security Agency (DANS), Deyan Peevski, which cause a year-long popular protests requesting the resignation of the Oresharski cabinet.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. This journalistic practice is well spread. While political parties are often reluctant to provide them directly with information, journalists are sent to the public institution registers to obtain information.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources
        1. ‘DPS with the most expensive pre-electoral campaign’, Marta Mladenova, DarikFinance.bg, 25 June, 2013; Available here: http://darikfinance.bg/novini/95559/%C4%CF%D1+%F1+%ED%E0%E9-%F1%EA%FA%EF%E0%F2%E0+%EF%F0%E5%E4%E8%E7%E1%EE%F0%ED%E0+%EA%E0%EC%EF%E0%ED%E8%FF

        2. ‘DPS spends nearly 4 million BGN for the elelction, Glas Naroden – the cheapest campaign’, Bilyana Rilska, June 25, 2013, Dnevnik; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2013/06/25/2089752dpspoharchilablizo4mlnlvzaizboriteglasnaroden/

        3. ‘DPS with the most expensive pre-electoral campaign in 2013’, Vanina Nedkova, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://news.ibox.bg/news/id_610020162

        4. ‘DPS and BSP with the most expensive electoral campaigns, GERB spend 1 956 867 leva ’, 25 June, 2013, Available in Bulgarian, here: http://novanews.bg/news/view/2013/06/25/52742/%D0%B4%D0%BF%D1%81-%D0%B8-%D0%B1%D1%81%D0%BF-%D1%81-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%B9-%D1%81%D0%BA%D1%8A%D0%BF%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B8-%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B8/

        5. ‘More than half of the electoral expenses for their campaign, parties gave to the media’, Dnevnik, 21 July, 2013, Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2013/07/21/2107434partiitedalipovecheotpolovinatasirazhodiv/

        6. ‘What is behind the 200 000 votes for Barekov – the most expensive campaign and a break-through in Roma villages’, Rosen Bosev and Zornitza Stoilova, Capital Daily, 30 May, 2014; Available here: http://www.capital.bg/politikaiikonomika/bulgaria/2014/05/30/2311921kakvostoizad200hiliadiglasanabarekov/

        Peer Reviewer comment: Interview with Vessela Vesselova, journalist internet media ”BLITZ”; by SKYPE on 26/10/2014

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        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        Capital Daily reports that in March 2013, after audits of the finances of the electoral campaign of political parties for the 2013 election, two party leaders have been sanctioned for not complying with the Electoral Law. The NAO has not revealed which two party leaders are sanctioned, but has stated that the sanctions are in relation to the declared income and the de facto spent money on the campaign. 22 political parties, 7 coalitions and one initiative committee have been checked. The article states that three political parties, one coalition and the initiative committee have submitted their reports late, that one party has failed to submit a report, and that 5 political parties have not complied with the rule that donations above 1000 BGN need to be made via a bank transfer. 15 political parties have failed to submit the required data for their donors. Yet, the news agency writes that only two parties have been sanctioned.

        BTV national television writes in its news report that after investigation it has discovered at least two instances in which unemployed people are listed among the donors of one of the new parties, Barekov, which had the most expensive electoral campaign in the EP election two months ago. Despite the fact that this is regarding the EP election, rather than the 2013 Parliamentary elections, and thus not directly related to the study, what is happening in Bulgaria in this regard is now booming in the media specifically for this EP election, and is therefore important.

        Another scheme which has been written about in 2011, before the period of study, is also something which is known to happen. Bilyana Rilska from Dnevnik reports that in October 2011 (a few months before the last presidential election) a coalition has been recruiting donors in the small town of Botevgrad. Basically, people were paid 100 BGN if they would agree to give their personal data as donors of 1000 BGN (the largest sum which is allowed to be donated without a declaration and not via bank transfer) to a political party. The journalist notes that experts have commented that this is a scheme for money laundering.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources
        1. ‘The National Audit Office has sanctioned two party leaders for violation of the Electoral Law’, Capital Daily, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://www.capital.bg/politikaiikonomika/bulgaria/2014/03/13/2260536smetnatapalataesustavilaaktovenapartiinilideri/

        2. ‘Barekov’s party has recruited donors without their knowledge’, btvnews.bg, 5 June, 2014; Available here: http://btvnews.bg/article/bulgaria/regionalni-novini/balgariya-bez-tsenzura-nabirala-dariteli-bez-tyahno-znanie.html

        3. ‘New scheme: parties are buying also donors before elections’, Bilyana Rilska, Dnevnik, 11 October, 2011. Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/izbori2011/2011/10/19/1181038novashemapartiikupuvatidaritelizaizborite/

        4. ‘The Central Election Committee is checking a signal from ATAKA for un-lawful pre-electoral campaigning from GERB’, Dnevnik, 10 April, 2013. Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/izbori2013/2013/04/10/2039324cikproveriavasignalnaatakaza_predizborna/

        5. ‘GERB is filing a complaint for the annulment of the elections’, Slav Okow, 25 May, 2013, Dnevnik; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/izbori2013/2013/05/22/2066449gerbvnesohajalbizakasiranenaizboriteiotimeto/

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        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        The problem with vote-buying in Bulgaria is well known and well documented within the media. Included are five links, one of which refers to more than a dozen, all of which discuss schemes of vote buying and vote selling.

        From the news articles it is obvious that one of the targeted social groups for vote-buying are the Roma. As the poorest and least educated social strata they are most susceptible to partake in this kind of crime. One of the articles offers an interview with son of an informal Roma leader known as Tzar Kiro, who claims that his father has been approached by all political parties for the purchase of votes, even by the nationalistic party ATAKA. While vote-buying is more strategic and with a higher payoff in local elections (where buying enough votes can tip the result in favor of one or another candidate), it is a problem in every type of election in Bulgaria.

        The Institute for Public Environment Development (IPED) is the largest election watch-dog in Bulgaria and their representatives have written numerous reports after observing different election. They have also created a website – https://www.fairelections.eu/ - where one can see in real time the number of instances of vote-buying and also can give a signal for such. It is clear from the map of the 2013 election, that violations happen all over the country.

        Peer Reviewer comment: There are realy many cases, published in media of vote buying but only a few of them have ended up with legal measures taken against the perpetrators. Since the accusations of such abuses are used in political confrontation, that give impetus to the media to present "evidences" about this kind of crimes. Research agencies in their analysis have often captured not the real practices, and that creates impression the phenomena is more spread, than in fact it is.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources
        1. More than a dozen news articles on ‘vote-buying’, BTV national television, Available here: http://btvnews.bg/tag/?tag=%D0%BA%D1%83%D0%BF%D1%83%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B5-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%B3%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5

        2. ‘Regional Electoral Committee is checking signals for campaigning and vote-buying on the date of the election’, Bulgarian National Radio Stara Zagora, 27 July, 2014; Available here: http://bnr.bg/starazagora/post/100435448/rik--stara-zagora-proveryava-signali-za-agitaciya-i-kupuvane-na-glasove-v-izborniya-den

        3. ‘We are the vote-bank from which every politician needs to buy votes, says the son of Tzar Kiro’, Dnevnik, 18 September 2013; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2013/09/18/2143459sinutnacarkironiesmeskladutzaglasoveot_koito/

        4. ‘From 30 to 50 leva for a vote in villages around Varna’, Seaside Dnevnik, 25 May, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2014/05/25/2307603ot30do50lvzaglasvselakrai_varna/

        5. IPED set up website for the monitoring of vote-buying: https://www.fairelections.eu/. Accessed on September 16, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with D. Penkov - former executive director of the Institute of public administration, actually working on projects, related to Public/Business Integrity building and combat against corruption, by SKYPE on 26/102014

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        32
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        There are two civil society organizations in Bulgaria that are known to directly use the political finance data which is publicly available – one is IPED, the main election watch-dog, and the other is Transparency International Bulgaria – the main anti-corruption awareness organization in the country.

        Antoaneta Tzoneva also stated that IPED and Transparency International are the only two organizations utilizing the party finance data. She said also that there is data, but there are also limitations. IPED has been the initiator of the establishment of the Public Register where political parties are to enter all relevant information about their finances, their use of media, about their properties, and make it public.

        The Access to Information Programme has mentioned in its Annual Report of 2013, a case in which a journalist was refused the access to financial reports of the so-called independent MPs (MPs which have broken off from a political party and in Bulgaria it has been a big issue where do the public money allocated to these people go after the break-away). This not a direct use of political finance data per se, but a discussion about it by a civil society organization. Here is an excerpt:

        "Cassation (second) Instance Decision By decision no. 6681 of 15 May 2013 the SAC repealed the ACSC decision and instructed the MF to provide access to the requested information. The justices stated that the case concerned access to public information, enabling the applicant to form an opinion on the fixing and distribution of a government subsidy, which is related to the state’s political life. The political affiliation of an independent MP is not a fact, which is related to privacy and private life, but is an objectively existing fact which under the law should even be personally declared. MPs are public persons who identify before the public with their political orientation and budgetary spending." (AIP 2013, Annual Report, p. 130).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for the Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. Monitoring Report Elections 2013, Transparency International, Bulgaria. Available here: http://www.transparency.bg/media/publications/Parliamentary%20Elections%202012%20Monitoring%20Report.pdf

        3. Access to Information in Bulgaria, Annual Report 2013. Available, here: http://store.aip-bg.org/publications/annrepeng/2013.pdf

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        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        According to Antoaneta Tzoneva ‘we haven’t gone to a single election under the same law in the last 10 years’. There have been multiple changes in both the Law in Political Parties and in the Electoral Law. For her, the most notable ones, are the changes that have happened in the last 3-4 years – for example the requirement to declare in-kind donations, the creation of a public register where parties have to declare all their income and spending, and the requirement for declarations for the origin of funds above a certain threshold. All of these have been a ‘big step’ to more transparency.

        In a news article in SEGA daily, Dr. Nikolov discusses the financial contributions to political parties, and sums up the major changes in the law regarding those. Quoted from the article: ‘By 2011, for each received valid vote in the parliamentary elections parties entitled to state subsidy took an amount equal to a percentage of the minimum wage. With the adoption of the Political Parties Act (PPA) in 2005 it was decided to grant a voice to be 1% of the minimum wage as of 30 September of the previous year. In 2006, the subsidy was increased to 2%, in 2009 - a 5% or 12 lev per vote (at 240 lev minimum wage). In 2011, with a new change in the PPA the subsidy was decided not to be bound by the minimum wage, but to be determined annually by the State Budget Act. Despite a legal framework to reduce the subsidy politicians decided to remain the same for 2012 and 2013 - 12 lev for a valid vote.’

        The public subsidy to political parties is a very contended question. Many believe it is too high, some want to limit it to the parties in parliament, others to lower it, however the situation at the moment is that the subsidy remains for all who have received above 1% of the popular vote and is only lowered by 1 BGN, from 12 BGN to 11 BGN with the Budget of 2014, reports Rilska (2014).

        The laws governing poltical party finance underwent some key alternations in 2001, 2005 and 2009. Before 2001, there were no domestic donation restrictions; in 2001, limits were set at up to 30,000 BGN; in 2005, this was reduced to 10,000 BGN for individuals, and set at 30,000 BGN for companies; in 2009, corporate donations were eliminated. As for foreign donations, before 2001, they were allowed up $2,000; in 2001, limits from foreign individuals were set at 30,000 BGN, and corporate or foundation donations were banned; in 2005, the individual limit was reduced to 10,000 BGN, and in 2009, all foreign contributions were banned. Finally, among some of the important changes, sanctions were intensified - from 2001, sanctions allowed for the loss of the current year subsidy, and in 2005, this was increased to be loss of subsidy through the next election.

        The context that brought about these changes can be summed up by the high corruption, popular protests against incumbent parties, links between politicians nad crime groups which the media has revealed over the years. Mostly, however, the changes in making donations more transparent and guided by specific conditions, is a result of the buying of votes, and thus influence, which has becoming a widely known practice in the recent years as mentioned in other indicators. The changes which occured in giving something to the 'small players' are results of the most recent year of protests.

        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In 2009 the Political parties legal act provision, which enabled legal entities to donate political parties was abrogated after series of reveals and scandals of private companies, participated in public tenders, committed with such financial support of parties and electoral campaings.

        The "media package" public funding was introduced in the Electoral law with the aim to support in their electoral campagn the parties, which do not receive directly financial resources by the state.

        The requirement political parties (coalitions, initiative committee) to declare at the united register by the NAO (according to the Electoral law) their connections with the sociological agencies, adds agencies and public relations agencies was introduced in 2014 with the aim to make those links more transparent in order to avoid speculations, manipulations as well as illegal financial support for the participants in electoral campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources
        1. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. IPED is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

        2. News article in SEGA Daily by Dr. Georgi Nikolov, January 2013, Issue 4583 (6); Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.segabg.com/article.php?sid=2013010800040001001

        3. Guidelines for declaration of electoral campaign from the National Audit Office; Available in Bulgaria, here: http://212.122.184.197/index.php?p=2503

        4. ‘Parties get 1 BGN less per vote’, Bilyana Rilska, 9 December, 2013, Dnevnik Daily. Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2013/12/09/2198960okonchatelnopartiiteshtepoluchavatotdurjavatas1/

        5. Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        6. Ekaterina R. Rashkova & Maria Spirova (2014) Party regulation and the conditioning of small political parties: evidence from Bulgaria, East European Politics, 30:3, 315-329, DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2014.933413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21599165.2014.933413.

        7. Ekaterina R. Raskova (2014). Yet to be published case study on Bulgarian Political Finance. Electoral Integrity Project.

        Reviewer's sources: Presidential Decree N 31/28.02.2014 for returning back for new consideration in the Parliament of the Electoral law, Official journal n. 18/04.03.2014, visited 11.12.2014 http://www.lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/2136111809

        Interview with D. Penkov – former executive director of the Institute of public administration, actually working on projects, related to Public/Business Integrity building and Combat against corruption, by SKYPE on 25/10/2014

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    0
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
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        34
        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        As noted in #16, according to the legislation governing the Bulgarian electoral process, as well as the Bulgarian political parties, donations from corporations or any legal persons are not allowed (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.1.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.1.2). The same is specified in the Law on Political Parties (Art. 24.1.2). In-kind donations from corporations and legal persons are also forbidden (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 152.2; 2014 Electoral Law, Art. 168.2; Political Parties Act, Art. 24.2).


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Art. 168 of the Electoral law, which prohibits the financial support from some entities (third party actors) uses the wording “????????” (resources), whose systematic interpretation (into the context of whole legislation) includes all kind of values: material, immaterial, in-kind, real estate, personnel etc. It also mean those resources should not be provided to party/candidate free of charge. That does not mean that the party/candidate could not strike a contract with third party actor for service (media, sociological agency, research center etc.) In this case they are obliged to report to Ministry of justice and National revenue agency under the common provisions of the law. Depends on their legal status some of them are oblaged to declare both activities and financial balance, other only financial balance. This information is partially accessible for public use. Typical example in this regards are some media and polls agencies. Registered as legal entities they can recieve contributions and are subjects to abovementionned reports. Run by people, close to political parties, they are often used for propaganda aims even during the election campaign. A higher score could be based on the fact that, although according to different legal acts and in different independent databases, the current legislation and administrative practice provide with possibilities the audit and law enforcement institutions to trace unlawful flow of such financial resources.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 152. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 168. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Reviewer's sources: Art. 168 of the Electoral law, Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed 27/10/2014)

        Interview with Maria Stojanova, attorney and BSP party activist, by SKYPE on 27/10/2014

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        35
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        Third parties do not officially spend on electoral campaigns in Bulgaria as it happens in other countries. There is not a lobbying culture. As noted in #34, there is no requirement to report specifically on election spending for any such outside groups.

        In an interview lawyer Alexander Kashumov says that in Bulgaria there are two types of NGOs – those with public and those with private benefit. NGOs created for public benefit, i.e. those that get public money, need to submit financial reports to the Ministry of Justice and can be checked by the Agency for State Financial Inspection (ADFI is the Bulgarian abbreviation).

        The Ministry of Justice publishes annual reports in a public register, however they are not 100% full. Incidental control can take place if the third-party gets public funding, for example from a specific Ministry, or from European funds. Where EU funds are involved the financial reporting is most strictly observed. The other type of NGOs, those for private benefit, are neither obliged to submit financial reports, nor are they subject to audit because they do not receive public money. In general there is a deficit of transparency in spending.

        Expenditures of third-party actors are not so much in the news, but there was recently a news article of an accusation that a German foundation which sponsors many NGOs in Bulgaria is also sponsoring a political party. The foundation denied the allegations, stating that it had funded a conference on the topic of the specific ethnic minority in order to increase awareness and not to sponsor political activity.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree As third party actors are not allowed to provide financial support (contributions) to political parties and elections candidates, they cannot report before an oversight authority such expenditures. But it doesn’t mean they can not do it under other legal form. The most often practice is that private companies, foundations etc. organize and sponsor cultural or sports events, which are unofficially used for electoral campaign purposes but are not announced as such. In general they are obliged to report their activities, as well as the donations received and expenditures to the Ministry of Justice and National Revenue Agency, but don’t declare the real reason for the spending.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. News article on declined allegation from Fridrich Nauman foundation to have supported an ethnic minority party, 19 December, 2013; Available here: http://politics.actualno.com/Fondacija-Fridrih-Nauman-otreche-da-finansira-partija-POMAK-news_9595.html

        3. NGO Annual Financial reports provided via the Bulgarian NGO Information Portal. Accessed in September 2014. Available here: http://www.ngobg.info/bg/documents/annualreport/page_3.html

        4. Ministry of Justice, Register for NGOs, in Bulgarian, accessed in September 2014. here: http://ngo.mjs.bg/search.aspx

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with Maria Stojanova, attorney and BSP party activist, by SKYPE on 27/10/2014

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        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Third parties do not officially spend on electoral campaigns in Bulgaria as it happens in other countries. There is not a lobbying culture. As noted in #34, there is no requirement to report specifically on election spending for any such outside groups.

        The research has shown that financial information on third parties is available but is not always complete. Lawyer Alexander Kashumov stated that NGOs in Bulgaria register with the Ministry of Justice and all their documents, including financial reports are then included in a public register. The public register however is not well maintained. What is available can be read and used by the public, but what is not shown is just not there.

        Only through the Law about Conflict of Interest, according to Kashumov. Each third-party needs to submit declarations what kind of connections they have. After a study of AIP however, it was evident that only 1/3 of these declaraions are published. 2/3 are not published, or it just says that person so and so has submitted a declaration, but the declaration is not shown. In this way, he concludes, the transparency is jeopardized because the public is not able in most instances to trace the connections between third-parties and politicians.

        The Annual Report from AIP in 2013 cites 15 litigation cases that their organization has taken part in, most of them about journalists requesting financial information from entities or persons linked to the political process. In most cases, at first instance such information was denied.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. As third party actors are not allowed to provide financial support (contributions) to political parties and elections candidates, they cannot report before an oversight authority such expenditures. But it doesn’t mean they can not do it under other legal form. The most often practice is that private companies, foundations etc. organize and sponsor cultural or sports events, which are unofficially used for electoral campaign purposes but are not announced as such. In general they are obliged to report their activities, as well as the donations received and expenditures to the Ministry of Justice and National Revenue Agency, but don’t declare the real reason for the spending.

        Data about those unofficial financial links are spread in different registers, some of them non accessible according to the Law for protection of personal data and other legal acts. The unofficial sponsorship for election campaign from third parties (private companies, foundations etc) under the shape of "cultural and sports events" is common, and the access of the journalists and citizens to this information is limited, the transparency of this kind of financial contributions is heavily affected.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources
        1. Access to Information in Bulgaria, Annual Report 2013. Available, here: http://store.aip-bg.org/publications/annrepeng/2013.pdf

        2. Questions and Answers about the Law on Non-for-profit Organizations, Bulgarian Center for Non-Profit Law, Sofia 2011. Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.bcnl.org/uploadfiles/documents/pravna%20ramka/qa10.pdf

        3. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with Maria Stojanova, attorney and party activist.

        Interview with D. Penkov - former executive director of the Institute of public administration, actually working on projects, related to Public/Business Integrity building and combat against corruption, by SKYPE on 26/102014

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Most NGOs created for public interest can apply for funds from the state or foreign institutions. A lot of them get funds via applications for grants. The Information Portal for NGOs provides detailed information on grants to which NGOs can apply (see link in sources).

        According to Alexander Kashumov, financing of political parties by third-parties probably exists but is not publicly known and transparent. For the NGOs with public funding this is not possible as it is forbiden by the law and they have to provide detailed financial reports. However, as per discussions in the media, there are speculations that political parties get sponsored on the side via public procurement. For example the political party in power gives public contracts to specific companies, they on the other hand spend a small portion of the allotted money and the rest are used for electoral campaigns and other political purposes.

        A newly formed political party, RepublicaBG, has a tab financing on its page, however everything stated there is rather general and according to the law. It also has a link to what seems like a third-party, secifically a political action committee (an ideaological trust), and on its webpage there is a link for donations, but no financial information about past donations or spending. This illustrates the fact that not all information can be found.

        According to a leading journalist outside actors are not allowed to spend their own money to benefit parties or candidates - it is forbidden by law. Only the Reformatorski Blok (a new colaition of five old right parties) has organized two fundraising balls, and while the parties organize that formally, some foundations stay behind the scenes in their support.


        Peer reviewer comment: There are some circles (political parties, NGO's, media, sociological agencies, research groups etc.) which sustain close relationships between them, often regulated by other than Electoral law and Political parties legal act. They educate each others staff, organize common conferences, "round tables", research, exchange experts when participating in projects, order and carry out public opinion polls etc. Some of the projects are financed by public (EU or other organizations) budget. Through those channels is easily to pass public resources in supporting electoral campaigns, even the legal provisions are formally followed. Many political parties seek to take control over those third party actors in order to increase thier influence in the society and to channel financial ressources for parties' needs. Most often this practice occures, when the respective party is in power. There are many allegations about projects allocated to "favorite" candidates.

        RepublicaBG as a political party has its analytical unit, that is not unusual as a practice. It's not illegal as a structure by the party to take donations, if only they are in compliance with the legal provisions for such kind of contributions.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. News article on declined allegation from Fridrich Nauman foundation to have supported an ethnic minority party, 19 December, 2013; Available here: http://politics.actualno.com/Fondacija-Fridrih-Nauman-otreche-da-finansira-partija-POMAK-news_9595.html

        3. Information Portal for NGOs in Bulgaria, Financing Tab; Available here: http://www.ngobg.info/bg/financing.html. Accessed on September 16, 2014.

        4. Political Party ‘RepublicaBG’ (http://republica.bg/pages/about/finance/) and Bulgarian Republican Institute (http://bri.bg/) advertised as expert and ideological trust of the political party. Accessed on September 16, 2014.

        5. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with D. Penkov - former executive director of the Institute of public administration, actually working on projects, related to Public/Business Integrity building and combat against corruption, by SKYPE on 26/102014

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    61
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      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
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        38
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The National Audit Office is the independent auditoring institution in Bulgaria for all budget-funded enterprises. Art 33.1 from the Law on Political Parties states that the financial control over the activity of political parties and the management of their property shall be exercised by the National Audit Office.

        In the Law on the National Audit Office, respectively, Art. 2 states that the main role of the NAO is to control the credibility and reliability of the financial statements of budgetary organizations, the lawful, effective, efficient and economical management of public funds and activities, and to provide the National Assembly with reliable information about it.

        Art. 5 l. 5 (1) "NAO can perform: 1 financial audits; 2 compliance audits in financial management; 3 performance audits; 4 specific audits. (2) NAO may carry out documentary and factual inspections and other control action on legal entities assigned to it by special laws only within the audit work and in pursuance of this Act. Art. 6 (1) NAO audits: 1 state budget; 2 budget of the state social insurance; 3 budget of the National Health Insurance Fund; 4 municipal budgets; 5 other budgets adopted by the National Assembly."

        The NAO, however, does not have the legal right to investigate -- it can only check the books of the parties and assess whether they are budgeted properly or not.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Subject to annual audit from the part NAO are only parties which: - Receive public funding; - Rent premises, state or municipal property (on preferential prices); - Participated in elections (if during the year have been held) art.35 (1) Political parties law
        Political paries are subject to special audit from the part of NAO when participate in elections. It is exercized under the provisions of Electoral law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 33. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Law on the National Audit Office, passed on 10th December, 2010, and amended multiple times after that. Last amendement was on 22nd April, 2014. Relevant articles: 2. Source: http://lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/2135708285

        Reviewer's sources: Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 179. http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed 27/10/2014)

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        39
        Score
        YES
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        In the Law governing the functions of the National Audit Office there are several clauses discussing the high-level appointments. The chair and two vice-chairs are chosen by the Parliament (Art. 12.1). The chair is chosen for a term of 6 years (Art. 12.2). S/he has to have a Masters degree and no less than 15 years of auditing experience (Art. 13.2.1), not to have been a member of a cabinet or another leading political post in the past 3 years to the appointment (Art. 13.2.2), and not to have had criminal convictions (Art.13.2.3). The chair of NAO cannot be re-elected (Art. 13.4). The vice-chairs are chosen by the parliament on recommendation of the chair (Art. 14. 1). Finally, Art. 15 discusses that the chair and vice-chairs cannot be in family or relative relations, nor have any other conflicts of interest.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Law on the National Audit Office, passed on 10th December, 2010, and amended multiple times after that. Last amendement was on 22nd April, 2014. Relevant articles: 12, 13, 14, 15. Source: http://lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/2135708285

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        0
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        There have been very recent changes around the oversight body in Bulgaria recently, which show that the process is neither transparent, nor entirely based on merit. According to the article published in Dnevnik, which summarizes what has happened, the changed Law on the National Audit Office introduced a 9-person governing body, which is to be appointed under the current government. The latter has had no popular confidence since the first week of its mandate and there have been public protests trying to oust the cabinet, which have only very recently materialized (the resignation was given on July 24, 2014). Dnevnik notes that on June 11 the vote for the appointment of the new members was scheduled as ‘the first thing on the parliament’s agenda’. What happens is important, as it seems that the currently outgoing politicians are trying to change the people who will have to monitor how public money are spent for the next 7 years, just as they are giving up the power and with new upcoming elections.

        Alexander Kashumov also notes the fact that not all parliamentary parties propose a candidate and this pool is then voted upon, but instead the majority issues and appoints a candidate. It is also a precedent that with changes to the law the previous director of the NAO was removed and replaced by a ‘party person’ on April 10th this year (Offnews.bg 2014). Kashumov does have faith however on the one rule which secures some sort of rotation, i.e. the limited service term.

        According to a well-known journalist, this is a very contentous issue. Members were appointed based on the legal requirements, but the latter are made to fit to the candidacy. Almost every new government changes the law on the NAO, whether it is the criteria for its memebers or their mandate, so that it can appoint its 'own' NAO.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. ‘GERB: It is not normal for this government [referring to the outgoing Oresharski cabinet] to appoint people to the National Audit Office’, Vesti.bg, 10 June, 2014; Available here: http://www.vesti.bg/bulgaria/politika/gerb-ne-mozhe-tova-ns-da-naznachava-v-smetnata-palata-6014372

        3. ‘In its last days the Parliament is choosing members for the National Audit Office ’, Offnews.bg, 10 June, 2014; Available here: http://offnews.bg/news/%D0%9F%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B08/%D0%92-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5-%D1%81%D0%B8-%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B8-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D1%8A%D1%82-%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B1%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B0-%D1%81%D1%8A%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%A1%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0347686.html

        4. ‘The Parliament is going to appoint the governing members of the National Audit Office with 7 year terms’, Dnevnik, 11 June, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2014/06/11/2320201parlamentutshtenaznachichlenovetenasmetnata/

        5. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

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        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        The chair is chosen for a term of 6 years (Art. 12.2) and the deputy chair for 7. Article 18 of the Law on the National Audit Office deals with the removal of the chair and vice-chairs of NAO before the full tenure has expired. This happens in the event that they request this (Art. 18.1.1), when they cannot do their obligations for over 6 months (Art. 18.1.2), when they are convicted of a crime (Art. 18.1.3), if they violate the conditions of appointment or there is a conflict of interest (Art. 18.1.4 &5), or death (Art. 18.1.6). Art. 18.1 states that the removal is done by the parliament.

        According to the Law on the National Audit Office, in Article 5, the NAO has the authority to review cases and issue decisions independently.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Law on the National Audit Office, passed on 10th December, 2010, and amended multiple times after that. Last amendement was on 22nd April, 2014. Relevant articles: 5, 12, 18. Source: http://lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/2135708285

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        25
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        According to Kashumov the independence of the oversight authority is principally guaranteed, however in practice there can be a possibility that a certain governing majority overlaps with ‘softer’ audits. In particular, after the cabinet of the triple coalition (Stanishev cabinet) , there was a puzzle about the report of the cabinet, which was allocated to political liking. However, such instances are not frequent, and generally the National Audit Office is enjoying a lot of trust and there aren’t many scandals.

        The picture presented lately in the media shows that scandals exist more often. In the last few months the law governing the oversight authority was changed and replaced the governing model to a new 9-member body which was fully politically nominated and chosen by the current outgoing cabinet. In an interview with BTV, the former NAO leader states that according to him this politically constructed governing body is doomed. To a question about the independency of the body, Dimitrov gives a political answer, saying that the work has to start in order to evaluate the new body – he claims that a political appointment does not always mean a political slave.

        The law for the functioning of the oversight institution has been changed, and now the governing body consists of 9 people, who are political appointments, which breaches the de facto role of the institution, according to Tzoneva. Organizations which are following the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria find these cardinal changes of the main oversight institution from a government which has lost its popular support and is about to resign, problematic. This is seen as a way to get inside people in while still possible and to solidify this with a change in the law for the nest several years to come.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. ‘In its last days the Parliament is choosing members for the National Audit Office ’, Offnews.bg, 10 June, 2014; Available here: http://offnews.bg/news/%D0%9F%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B08/%D0%92-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5-%D1%81%D0%B8-%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B8-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D1%8A%D1%82-%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B1%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B0-%D1%81%D1%8A%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%A1%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0347686.html

        3. ‘The father of Erman Zurkov is nominated for a member of the National Audit Office’, Dnevnik, 5 June, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2014/06/05/2316228bashtatanaermanzankovepredlojenzachlen_na/

        4. ‘The new governing body of the National Audit Office will follow the model 4-4-2’, Dnevnik, 10 June, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2014/06/10/2319535gerbnoviiatsustavnasmetnatapalatashtesledva/

        5. ‘Prof. Valeri Dimitrov [removed head of the NAO]: for me this party-designed governing body of the National Audit Office is iniquitous’, BTV Morning Show Interview, June 16, 2014; Available here: http://www.focus-news.net/opinion/2014/06/16/28799/prof-valeri-dimitrov-za-men-tozi-model-na-golyama-partiyno-konstruirana-smetna-palata-e-porochen.html

        6. Antoaneta Tzoneva (Chair of IPED). Phone interview, July 23, 09:15am. Website: http://iped.bg/en. The Institude for Public Environment Development (IPED) is the NGO with largest involvement in the electoral process in Bulgaria, offering advice and specific changes for teh Electoral Law in order for it to include the so-called good-practices for fair elections. IPED is also a watch-dog of the integrity of the electoral process in Bulgaria and a fervent opponent to the vote-buying problem recently occurring there.

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        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        As mentioned in some of the previous question, there has been a new law passed in Bulgaria, which changes precisely the decision-making process and body at the National Audit Office. The model of the governing body is changed from one president and two vice-presidents to one president and a number of advisers, a total of 9 people, all with 7 years tenure, opposed to the previous 6. According to Stefan Antonov (2014) this is a n attempt to take away powers from the leader and to put the reigns of the decisions of NAO under political spell.

        In addition to the changing the number of members, which will impose a new financial burden on the tax payer (EconomyNews.bg 2014), the professional requirement for who is allowed to be nominated have been lowered – a much of a Peevski-model, as Antonov claims (previously the ruling majority changed the requirements for the head of the National Security Agency in order to nominate Deyan Peevski).

        According to the new law, decisions will be made by at least 5 members from the governing body, under a simple majority rule (Art. 9.2). This means that with 3 out of the 9 lawful members a decision can be made. In general the change in the rules signify a move from a stronger independent body to a more consensual political appointment body where those who control 30% of the posts can influence the decisions taking place.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources
        1. (NEW) Law on the National Audit Office, as amended and supplemented, May 13, 2014. Availabe in Bulgarian, here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/zakon-za-smetnata-palata-876

        2. ‘The National Audit Office is reversing 4 years of its development’, Stefan Antonov, 17 February 2014; Available here: http://www.capital.bg/politikaiikonomika/bulgaria/2014/02/17/2243765smetnatapalatasevrushtachetirigodini_nazad/

        3. ‘Final decision about the National Audit Office’, EconomyNews.bg, 28 July, 2014; Available here: http://www.economynews.bg/%D0%BE%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D1%87%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%BD%D0%BE-%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%88%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D1%81%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-news53514.html

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        According to the research done, the National Audit Office has enough capacity to monitor political finance regulations. From the interview with Prof. Dimitrov, the former head of NAO, at the beginning of his mandate the administration did not have enough office space, but after a discussion with the then vice-mayor of Sofia Tzvetan Tzvetanov, the situation has been resolved and two floors of the building where the NAO is currently situated were vacated and refurbished. In terms of personnel capacity Prof. Dimitrov more than once states that every audit is done by a ‘chain’ of auditors, therefore there is no shortage of auditors on the job.

        The National Audit Office website provides their auditor reports for the finances of political parties online and available to the public. The NAO has enough capacity to do the audits it needs to do. A well-known journalist confirms the NAO has the necessary capacity and there is no backlog of submitted reports. That is why the checking period is 6 months.

        The stenograph from the parliamentary discussion of the reports of the activities of NAO for the past several years, shows also the structure of the institutions when Prof. Dimitrov was heading it. NAO was divided into four directorates, and each directorate had departments. At the top were the president and two vice-presidents of NAO. Each of the two vice-presidents was responsible for two of the directorates. With the previous law there were new high requirements for specialization certificates, which all staff had to achieve and those that couldn’t had to be released. He confirms that all auditor positions, including the internship positions, are given away by competition. According to him, this structure was a guarantee for the independence of the institution.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources
        1. Stenograph from the Budgetary and Finance Committee in Parliament discussing the reports for the activity of the National Audit Office from 2008 to present, from 30th January, 2014. Available here: http://www.parliament.bg/bg/parliamentarycommittees/members/2066/steno/ID/3165

        2. Interview with Prof. Valeri Dimitrov, former head of the National Audit Office, 15 May, 2014, Newspaper 168 Hours; Available here: http://www.168chasa.bg/Article.asp?ArticleId=4084474

        3. National Audit Office site, listing the auditor reports of the financial reports of the political parties. Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/dokladi-109

        4. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        The Audit report of the electoral campaigns of the political parties shows that the political parties’ declarations were checked according to what the law permits. The power of NAO is to check whether the funds declared spent are spent according to what is allowed by the law - i.e. if there is a limit on media covergae, if that limit has been complied with, etc. The auditors have checked the reports of 30 political entities – 22 parties, 7 coalitions and 1 initiative committee. The report consist of information of the compliance with all the regulations of the Electoral Law and conclusions about it, as well a summary for each individual party’s check. However, often in Bulgaria, political parties can claim spending in a category 'other' or 'media', without further details. In this way it is difficult to control whether the spending is legal or illegal, and in this way the NAO is unable to control expenditures, as there is not enough detail in the law. In an interview, a journalist covering political parties confirms the inablity of NAO to investigate further, and that therefore there were no further investigations undertaken. NAO can only check legality and signal to the prosecution and the police.

        In an interview with the Bulgarian National Television in December of 2013, Prof. Dimitrov, the then acting head of NAO, urged changes in the party law and itemized regulation on what political parties can spend their public subsidy exactly. He argues that such is necessary in order to legally allow NAO to monitor how the money is spent. The way the law is written now, he states, there is a lot of control on how parties get their income, but hardly any on how parties spend. This is especially vital for the spending of the public subsidy.

        The news article in Offnews.bg shows one of the instances when NAO is executing audits of specific institutions. One of the major reasons is the resignation of the Borisov cabinet in February 2013.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources
        1. Auditors Report No. 0400006813 for the financial expenses of the electoral campaign for the 2013 parliamentary election, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7246/doklad-izbori2014-130314-1.doc

        2. Interview with Prof. Valeri Dimitrov, former head of the National Audit Office, 30 December, 2013, Bulgarian National Television; Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/bnt-smetnata-palata-i-finansovite-proverki-na-partiite-1157#prettyPhoto/3/

        3. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        4. ‘National Audit Office is conducting an audit in the Council of Minister, the High Council, the Parliament and the Prosecution’, News article, Offnews.bg, 8 March, 2013; Available here: http://offnews.bg/news/%D0%91%D1%8A%D0%BB%D0%B3%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%8F1/%D0%A1%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D0%B2-%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%91%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BA%D0%BE-%D0%91%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B2169135.html

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The NAO offers public access to what is called ‘control over elections’, where the financial reports of parties and all their supplementary required information is included. The NAO site also publishes an auditors’ report over the electoral process of a given election, however, there aren’t any investigative audits beyond the compliance review which are publicly available.

        All articles in the media about this are in regards to the publishing of the financial reports of parties and electoral campaigns and the financial audits ensuing from those. One example is the news article from Darik news cited above.

        According to the Dnevnik article NAO has created 82 acts against political parties which have breached the law in regards to the finances of their electoral campaigns. Those however, are not made public.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources
        1. Auditors Report No. 0400006813 for the financial expenses of the electoral campaign for the 2013 parliamentary election, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7246/doklad-izbori2014-130314-1.doc

        2. National Audit Office site, listing the auditor reports of the financial reports of the political parties. Available here: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/dokladi-109

        3. ‘NAO publishes the financial reports of political parties’, DarikNews.bg, 14 April, 2014; Available at : http://dariknews.bg/viewarticle.php?articleid=1249118

        4. ‘Two party leaders with acts of violation from NAO’, news article, Dnevnik, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/video/2014/03/13/2260592lideritenadveparlamentarnipartiisasaktove_za/

        5. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The sanctions that exist against political finance violations are well-itemized in both Electoral Laws and the Party Law. In the 2013 Electoral law, a violation against the use of administrative resources is sanctioned with a fine between 300 and 1000 BGN (198-660 USD) (Art.288.1) and if the violation happens again the fine is between 1000 and 3000 BGN (660-1980 USD) (Art. 288.2). If the specifications for the financing of the electoral campaign are violated there is a fine between 5000 and 10000 BGN (3300-6600) (Art. 289).

        Those fines are increased with the new Electoral Law valid as of March 2014. In the case of determined use of administrative resources for campaign purposes, the fine is betwenn 1000-3000 BGN (660-1980 USD) (Art. 474.1) and if the violation is repeated the fine is between 3000 and 10000 BGN (1980-6600 USD) (Art. 474.2). Violation against campaign financing are fined from 2000 to 10000 BGN (1320-6600 USD) (Art. 479) and violations against the use of banking for the financing of the campaign is fined between 3000 and 15000 BGN (1980-9900 USD) (Art. 476). Failure to provide information for the Public Register is fined between 3000 and 10000 BGN (1980-6600 USD) (Art. 478).

        In addition the Law on Political Parties also stipulates a set of fines for various violations. The most notable ones are the failure to submit financial report on time which is fined between 5000 and 10000 BGN (3300-6600) (Art. 43. 1) and the failure of the creation of a public register is fined between 1000 and 5000 BGN (660-3300 USD) (Art. 43.2).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Disagree, suggests a score of MODERATE. Though there are such elements as described by the researcher, the Electoral law suffers a lot of insufficiencies, which affect its effective enforcement. Some of them are: 1) It does not envisage sanctions for the finance reports submission delay. 2) The fines for non-compliance with campaign finance regulations are too low compared to campaign expenditure permitted under the law to effectively discourage potential violations. 3) While the Code requires paid advertisements to be clearly marked as such, no sanctions are foreseen in case of violations.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 288, 289. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 474, 476477, 478, 479. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 43. Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

        Reviewer's sources: International Election Observation Mission; R. of Bulgaria – Early Parliamentary elections 5 October 2014, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, p.2, 9 http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/bulgaria/125140

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        YES
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The National Audit Office is an independent body, which is monitoring and sanctioning violations. All violations regarding the political finance of electoral campaigns are issued by the NAO (2013 Electoral Law, Art. 301.1 & 2; 2014 Electoral Law Art. 44.1 & 2). Similarly, if a political party is late in the submission of its annual financial report, the sanctioninign body is the NAO (Political Parties Act, Art. 44.1 & 2).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Electoral Law (2013) passed originally on January 28th, 2011 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on February 21st, 2013. Relevant articles: 301. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/files/_bg/izboren-kodeks%5B1%5D.doc (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Electoral Law (2014) passed on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: 497. Source: http://www.bulnao.government.bg/bg/articles/download/7293/izboren-kodeks-new0314.rtf (in Bulgarian, accessed July 21, 2014)

        Political Parties Act, passed originally on March 1st, 2005 and amended multiple times after that. Last amendment was on March 5th, 2014. Relevant articles: . Source: http://www.cik.bg/f/576 (in Bulgarian; accessed on July 21, 2014)

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        There is no public information about non-compliance with financial penalties for violations of the law. First, as was discussed in indicator 46, such information is not made fully public. Second, where there are penalties imposed, as the Dnevnik article from March 13, 2014, notes, they are in terms of a few thousand leva (which is a negligible amount and one can even think that an opportunistic politician may consider the costs of the penalty less than the costs of revealing the truth).

        A well-known journalist does not recall any sanctions beyond these small monetary penalties to have taken place. The largest sanctioning mechanism that exists is that if a political party is not submitting its reports three years in a roll, they cannot take part in elections.

        Alexander Kashumov from the Access to Information Programme states that the larger interest in Bulgaria falls on the personal property declarations of the politicians as opposed to their political party statements. There are sanctions there as well. These need to be submitted to NAO, but in case of missing reports or other type of violations detected the institution which deals with these further is the National Revenue Agency. Kashumov words are confirmed by the search in the media and news strories. There is a lot of information published on the amount of money, apartment, other property that individual politicians have.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Although not very frequent, there remain isolated cases where the same parties and the same political leader commits repeat violations, once sanctioned. The problem persists, because the fines are paid from the party's budget, not from the person responsible. With an amendment to the law should be imposed the requirement of offenders' personal liability.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. ‘Look what the politicians declared’, Konstantin Todorov, Novini.bg, 6 June, 2014; Available here: http://www.novini.bg/news/208094-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%B6%D1%82%D0%B5-%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%BE-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%85%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5-%D0%B7%D0%B0-2013-%D0%B3-.html

        3. ‘Borissov received more than 40 000 BGN from compensations, Peevski with a savings account of 17 000 BGN’, a news article in BTV news, 6 June, 2014; Available here: http://btvnews.bg/article/bulgaria/borisov-vzel-nad-40-000-lv-ot-obezshteteniya-peevski-e-s-vlog-ot-17-000-leva.html

        4. ’34 employees of high-rank have not submitted their property declarations’, 6 June, 2014, news article in Investor.bg; Available here: http://www.investor.bg/ikonomika-i-politika/332/a/34-slujiteli-na-visoki-postove-ne-sa-podali-v-srok-imushtestveni-deklaracii,173827/

        5. ‘Two party leaders with acts of violation from NAO’, news article, Dnevnik, 13 March, 2014; Available here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/video/2014/03/13/2260592lideritenadveparlamentarnipartiisasaktove_za/

        6. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Interview with Chavdar Petrov - legal expert by NGO "European human right alliance for Bulgaria", by SKYPE on 28/10/2014

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Although enforcement is improving, Alexander Kashumov states that the biggest problem lies in the political influence over existing institutions – one example he gives is the Ministry of Finance and the fact that they declined to give the financial declarations of 20 newly declared independent MPs, and thus the tracking of what happens to the public money allotted to these specific people was non-transparent. He also says that instead of complying with the law, political parties are looking for ways to go around it.

        According to a well-known journalist, what impedes enforcement is the corruptive mindset and system; the legal framework is good, but the issue is with parties being honest and playing by the rules.

        The level of enforcement and its problems mainly that of corrupt behavior in all its forms, is clearly seen in the multiple reports and statements from Transparency International in Bulgaria. One of the most recent statement published on their site notes their concern with the potential change in the Law on Political Parties to scrape the public financial support of non-parliamentary parties without any public discussion or support.

        Another communication stated a number of different incidents in the electoral process, after TI observation, which lower the trust and value of elections – for example, the scandal with the found unused bulletins on the day of the election suggests that there is not enough control over the publication and storage of the electoral bulletins, there are not enough guaranties against the leaking of information from the investigative bodies to the media, the violation of the Electoral law about behavior on Election Day and finally the lack of desire from political parties to comply with the stipulated behavior on Election Day.

        In short, enforcement is not strong and this has been one of the main criticism from the EC towards Bulgaria for a long time now – that law and order, and especially enforcement do not operate at a satisfactory level.

        The most urgent reforms have to do with party financing, both public and private. The public funding is still one of highest (comparatively) in Europe and if it is kept at this level (or lowered) it needs to be linked to some sort of deliverables by the political parties, not simply by the number of votes they receive. This is the only way in which larger and established parties will change te course of their actions and it will justify the high resources spend on political finance from the tax payer pocket. Everything needs to be made transparent and visible - i.e. there should be no cash donations accepted, and safeguards against schemes for circumventing the rules need to be implemented (for example if more than 10% of the employees of a given company are donors to a specific political party, this needs to checked and justified).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Because of many allegations (and scandals), that the public financial resources allocated to political parties (and electoral campaigns) are not spent for political (organizational) needs, it’s necessary to be established limits (in %) of the allotments for the different (typical) kind of activities. Of course some room for discretion (flexibility) should be remained for the parties’ management bodies. The practices show that the civil society control is not sufficient as an control instrument. General public is very sensitive on this issue and would welcome such legislative measure. Similar idea has been already forwarded by Center for liberal strategies program director Daniel Smilov.

        In order to strengthen the civil society control on the NAO’s work through has been recommended the establishing of a Civil Council, like the Civil Council set up to the Central Electoral Commission .

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources
        1. Alexander Kashumov (Access to Information Programme, Head of Legal Team). Phone interview, July 25, 14:00. Website: http://www.aip-bg.org/en/.

        2. Open letter to the head of the Law Committee at the 41st Bulgarian Parliament from IPED with direct advice on what changes are needed in the Electoral Law so that compliance and transparency are higher; Available in Bulgarian here: http://www.izborenkodeks.com/analysis/view-32

        3. ‘Where is the Corruption in Bulgaria: from the EC report’, Offnews.bg, Cecilia Malmstrom, 3 Feruary, 2014; Available here: http://offnews.bg/news/%D0%90%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B8289/%D0%9A%D1%8A%D0%B4%D0%B5-%D0%B5-%D0%BA%D0%BE%D1%80%D1%83%D0%BF%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%B2-%D0%91%D1%8A%D0%BB%D0%B3%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D0%B8%D0%B7-%D0%B4%D0%BE%D0%BA%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%95%D0%B2%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%B8%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%B0295587.html

        4. Multiple reports and opinions of Transparency International. One opinion against the proposed changes in the Political Parties Act, available here: http://www.transparency.bg/media/cmspagemedia/3/TI-Bulgaria.Position.Political.Parties.Act.27.06.2013.pdf

        5. Journalist from one of the most prominent daily newspapers who requested anonymity, in a personal interview, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Transparency and Integrity in the Electoral process: Report on the monitoring of the Electoral process for EU parliamentary members from R. Bulgaria, held 25 May 2014, (in Bulgarian) p.41 http://www.transparency.bg/bg/publications/2014/

        Daniel Smilov - Center for liberal strategies program director, newspaper “Capital” – “Subsidized parties” discussion of public funds for parties and candidates for elections. (in Bulgarian) http://www.capital.bg/politikaiikonomika/bulgaria/2011/02/11/1042185subsidiranipartii/ accessed on 24/10/2014

Bulgaria is a parliamentary system with a unicameral legislature and a directly elected head of state.

The National Assembly is elected through a proportional electoral system by which 240 MPs elected in 31 electoral districts. Since the 2014 parliamentary election a preference was introduced, where voters could either choose only a party and its pre-determined list, or choose a party and then pick a specific person from the list. The most recent elections took place on October 5th, 2014.

The President is directly elected as head of state every 5 years. The most recent election took place October 2011.

Bulgaria has been changing its electoral system in the past few years introducing a majoritarian vote for one of the seats in each of the 31 districts, but this worked against the party which introduced it (BSP) and was later abolished.