Democracy and the financing of political parties in view of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland

Ryszard Piotrowski

Abstract


Political parties play an important role in the contemporary democratic system, whereby the authority of a majority is constrained by human dignity and human rights. Without parties, there would be no political pluralism, one of the basic legal and systemic principles of the contemporary democratic state. On the practical level, though, the statutory rules governing the financing of political parties – laid down in the Political Parties Act and in the Electoral Code – produce results which weaken Constitutional democracy. An argument for keeping, in principle, the present model – where political parties are financed out of state budget and from other statutory sources – invokes the immanent risk of the system’s oligarchization, which would come with the elimination of subsidies and its inevitable outcome, a “privatization” of political parties. Yet the present system of political parties’ financing is in need of a major revamp. Most importantly, the changes should make the financing of political parties fully and genuinely transparent and subject to public control – whether in respect of the spending of budgetary resources or funds from membership fees, donations and other sources. The auditing powers of the State Electoral Commission in respect of political parties’ financing should be widened and rendered more exercisable. The financing of political parties is supposed to consolidate the democratic system, advance political pluralism, foster the formation and growth of new parties, and promote equal chances in electoral rivalry – rather than servie to stabilize the electoral advantage of the parties with access to public money.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/sil.2014.22.0.279
Data publikacji: 2015-04-18 11:34:24
Data złożenia artykułu: 2015-04-14 19:05:55


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