Overview of the regionFunding of political parties and candidates is a necessary component of political participation and representation. Yet, if such political finance systems are not effectively regulated, money could be used to undermine the integrity of political processes and institutions. In other words, comprehensive political finance systems are one of the key elements of successful anti-corruption efforts.
In order to support evidence-based political finance reforms, this policy brief draws on the 2018 data of International IDEA’s Political Finance Database and provides a comparative overview of political finance regulations in 16 Central and Eastern European countries—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia and Ukraine.
These 16 countries have taken very different paths since the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism in the early 1990s. While they all share a similar communist past, the maturity of their democracies varies. For example, eight of the surveyed countries are now members of the European Union. Yet, one of the enduring challenges across the region is political corruption. According to International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Indices, the regional average of absence of corruption is lower than the European average, although several countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland seem to perform relatively well in this regard (see Figure 1). One clear message is that continuous anti-corruption efforts should be made to safeguard the integrity of political participation and representation, underscoring the importance of effective political finance systems.