Party money in Ukrainian election

Many people are now surprised from where parties and blocs who participated in the latest election in Ukraine took so much money, especially as it became known that only for advertising 7,742,327 US dollars had been spend within 50 days. This always has been a great mystery: where do they take money from? Remember at least ex-German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who almost got to prison, as some details became known about the party cash. Bill Clinton also was accused of similar things. And what about Ukrainian parties who have just finished their advertising battles? In Kiev, Freedom of Choice public organization regarded results of monitoring of political parties and blocs’ financial expenses for advertising in mass media. The monitoring was being carried out for 50 days, as it is permitted by the election law. Leading TV channels, the most popular central and regional editions and the most rating radio stations were taken into account. Calculations were carried out according to the prises of advertising offered by mass media before the election campaign. Therefore, the total sum of the political advertising made $ 7,742,321. 97 percent of the sum was spend for TV advertising, 2 percent – for the press, while 1 percent – for advertising in the radio. About 72 percent of the sum was spent for open political advertising, 28 percent – for social and political advertising. About 43 percent of the sum was spent within two last weeks of the campaign. While total sum of money spend for direct political advertising makes approximately $ 5.5 million. The leaders in spending money are Women for Future, with $ 1,235,805. This sum is approximately 2,5 times more than legally fixed election fund of subject of the campaign (about $ 480 thousands). Second place in spending money belongs to Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (United), the party of businessmen and oligarchs leaded by ex-first vice-speaker of the parliament Viktor Medvedchuk and the owner of Kiev Dynamo football team, Grigory Surkis. This party spent $ 792,082, that is 1.5 times more than the legally fixed sum. The third place belongs to Our Ukraine of ex-Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yuschenko with $ 437,679. Two other places belong to Green Party of Ukraine ($ 400,018) and Apple party ($ 397,804). While total expenses for indirect political advertising made $ 2,183,655. While saying “indirect political advertising,” the organizers of the project meant advertising which partly contained titles of subjects of political process, elements of their logotypes, symbols etc. Most of money was spent by the Social Democratic Party ($ 1,350,023). On the second place, there is the Green Party ($ 315,382), while on the third one, there is For United Ukraine pro-presidential bloc with $ 312,577. Freedom of Choice organization also calculated what had been the price of one vote for parties, taking into account only advertising in mass media. Therefore, the most expensive votes belong to All-Ukrainian Union of Christians – 24.5 grivnas (approximately $ 4.2), as for Women for Future, one vote cost this bloc 12.2 grivnas (approximately $ 2.1), while the Green Party – 11.3 grivnas (approximately $ 1.9). Though, the cheapest votes belong to the Communist Party – only 10 copeck for a vote (approximately $ 0.019). According to the organization’s officials, several-time exceeding of funds are serious infringements which influenced the election’s results. Moreover, this fact witnesses long odds of the election participants. “If infringements of pro-presidential parties are neglected, it is hard to imagine what infringements like that could cause for opposition parties,” – concluding press-release of the project reads. Though, on the other hand it turned out that TV advertising had not executed its task: the most expensive parties were not the most preferred by the electorate. What the Central Election Committee could say to it? For the time being, it keeps silent. Freedom of Choice officials sent to the chairman of the Committee a letter presenting the facts of discrepancy between some parties’ advertising costs and the norms of the legislation. Though, no response followed. And it is clear, why. Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (United) is one of the pro-presidential parties. It spoke in support of Yulia Timoshenko’s displacement from the post of vice-premier. This party created coalition on displacement of prime-minister Viktor Yuschenko from his post. While Women for Future bloc is the project of President Leonid Kuchma’s wife. While the Greens are repainted oligarchs who not so much fight for environment’s protection, but rather ruin it with fabrics and plants they themselves possess. So, the Central Election Committee hardly will ask Women for Future (the organization was created about half a year ago) from where they have so much money for advertising. The secret of the money is still secret. At least, while these people are in power in Ukraine.

Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine Kiev Translated by Vera Solovieva

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