The opinion of the Legal Service regarding the financing of the parliamentary parties was brought up and down in the Parliament as it was decided that the € 7 million should be redistributed based on the new percentages of the parties that secured in the parliamentary elections last May. Specifically, he suggests the redistribution of 7/12 of the state sponsorship – concerning the period from May when the parliamentary elections took place until the end of the year – to the seven parties that managed to enter Parliament based on their new percentages. The opinion of the Legal Service is causing a headache in the Parliament, as the state sponsorship for the year 2021 has been distributed since last January in a lump sum and in advance to the eight parties that constituted the previous Parliament based on the percentages they received in the 2016 parliamentary elections! Therefore, in order for the Parliament to be considered lawful, the President of the House, Mr. Annita Dimitriou, must take the following actions:
- To ensure that the Citizens' Alliance and the Solidarity Movement return the part of the state sponsorship they received and which according to the opinion of the Legal Service are not entitled.
- To redistribute the amount of state sponsorship from May 2021 to the parties that succeeded in entering Parliament based on the new percentages they secured. It is considered, of course, that the big parties DISY, AKEL and DIKO will be called to return part of the state sponsorship they received to share it, on the one hand, DIPA which became a parliamentary party and on the other hand ELAM which doubled its percentages.
Meeting as soon as possible
The leaders of the parliamentary parties were informed in writing last Thursday by the Deputy General Director of the Parliament, Mrs. Tasoula Ieronymidou, about the intention of the Speaker of the Parliament to convene the meeting of the leaders as soon as possible “to discuss the whole issue (…) this opinion on the need to recalculate the amounts to which parliamentary parties are entitled “.
The opinion of the Attorney General was requested by the Audit Office, which controls the parties in relation to the way they use the state sponsorship. In particular, he asked for an opinion on whether all the regular state funding should be distributed to the parliamentary parties at the beginning of the year, ie before the elections in proportion to the percentages received in the previous parliamentary elections or should be given at the beginning of the year in proportion to the percentages of the previous parliamentary elections and after the conduct of the elections to be recalculated in proportion to the new percentages that will be secured in the new parliamentary elections.
The opinion, dated 27/7/2021, signed by the Assistant Attorney General Mr. Savvas Angelidis, points out, among others, the following:
- Regular funding is paid to the beneficiaries, namely the parliamentary parties, to cover their annual operating expenses in the manner prescribed by law. Therefore, political parties that lost their seats in Parliament after the 2021 parliamentary elections and ceased to be parliamentary parties are no longer eligible for regular funding. In contrast, political parties that have entered Parliament for the first time (such as DIPA) are entitled by law to receive part of the regular funding.
- The practice to be followed in the year that elections will be held is to calculate the amount of state sponsorship until the day the dissolution of Parliament is determined and the remaining amount to remain in order to calculate and distribute it after the parliamentary elections. “(…) It is our view that after the elections of May 2021, the amounts to which all the parliamentary parties of the new Parliament are entitled must be recalculated in order to satisfy the letter of the law. It is noted that the above grammatical interpretation is in line with the principles of transparency and accountability as explicitly mentioned in Article 6 of the Law “.
How the sponsorship was distributed
The leaders of the parliamentary parties decided last January to distribute in one lump sum and in advance the entire amount of state sponsorship for the year 2021, totaling € 7 million, despite the fact that parliamentary elections would be held in five months. Thus, the eight parties that constituted the Parliament distributed the total amount of € 6,649,451 as follows: A percentage of 15% amounting to € 997,417 was divided equally. The remaining 85% of the regular sponsorship, amounting to € 5,652,034, was distributed to the parties according to the percentages they secured in the 2016 parliamentary elections. In total, the parties put the following amounts in their coffers (rounded) as a state sponsorship:
- DISY – € 1,916,000.
- AKEL – € 1,623,000.
- DIKO – € 970,000.
- EDEK – € 485,000.
- Citizens' Alliance – € 475,000.
- Solidarity Movement – € 430,000.
- Ecologists Movement – € 405,000.
- ELAM – € 341,000.
In addition, an amount of € 340,000 was distributed as a state sponsorship to the youth of the parties based again on the percentages that the parties received in the 2016 parliamentary elections.
How it should be distributed
Based on the new data that emerged from the opinion of the Legal Service, the state sponsorship for the year 2021 should be paid as follows:
- The 5/12 of € 7 million to be distributed to the eight parties that constituted the previous Parliament and to their youth. Therefore, the Citizens' Alliance will have to return 7/12 from the amount of € 475,000 received in advance for the entire year 2021 as a state sponsorship and the Solidarity Movement 7/12 from the amount of € 430,000 as both parties have ceased to be parliamentary since last May. The leaders of the two parties expressed their readiness to return them as soon as requested by the Speaker of Parliament.
- The 7/12 of the state sponsorship of € 7 million should be distributed to the seven parties and their youth that constitute the new Parliament based on the percentages they received last May. According to calculations, the three major parties will have to return part of the state sponsorship they received.
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