Elections are primarily a race for votes, but if we look at the financial projections of the upcoming election campaign and the budgets of the parliamentary parties, it becomes very apparent that the elections are also a race for money.
In the 2023 election, each electoral list stands to get around 205,000 euros from the state budget for campaign costs and later another 23,000 per each MP in the future convocation of the Serbian Parliament.
Nemanja Nenadić, from Transparency Serbia, points out that his organization made projections based on the number of ballots in last year’s parliamentary elections.
„If 19 electoral lists take part in the elections this year (like last year) and if all of them submit electoral bonds, they will receive 24 million dinars, or about 205,000 euros each, before the elections. Judging by the reports submitted by political parties last year, this will not be nearly enough to run the campaign, because in 2022, when the parliamentary and presidential elections were observed together, the opposition parties reported expenses between 72 and 164 million dinars, the SPS 236 million and the SNS more than one billion dinars,” says Nenadić.
Nenadić also believes that this system of distributing money from the state budget puts parties with MPs in the national parliament in a privileged position, “especially those with a larger number of MPs”.
“The parties with MPs already receive significant budget funds and can use them for the campaign. Parties that do not win 1 percent of the vote (or 0.2% for national minority lists) must return this budget advance or it will be taken from their electoral bond. Last year, for example, the Albanian Alternative for Change was in such a situation,” Nenadić adds.
To remind, the 12 electoral lists that won seats in the National Assembly last year had a total of 115,316,250 dinars at their disposal on a monthly basis or close to one million euros.
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