Egils Levits

On April 3, President of Latvia, Egils Levits, sent to the Saeima for consideration the draft law "Amendment to the Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties)". "Only political parties that invest adequately and far-sightedly in their substantive capacity make a significant contribution to the development of national, sustainable politics and strengthening of democracy," says E. Levits, justifying the allocation of state budget funding.

The President of Latvia has repeatedly called on the Saeima to closely monitor the application of the regulation on the allocation of state budget funding to political parties in practice and to be ready to make the necessary improvements and correct the identified shortcomings.

E. Levits points out that the allocation of state budget funding to political parties is a kind of public order for the qualitative functioning and development of political parties, which is necessary for the common interests of the entire society. The state budget funding allocated to political parties must be used not only efficiently, but also in a meaningfully, says the President.

The President of Latvia believes that national level every political party should be able to develop its own proposals in key areas of national policy, such as security, foreign affairs, the economy, welfare, culture, etc. These parties must also offer people who can adequately represent these policies at both the parliamentary and government levels, says E. Levits.

"After the 14th Saeima elections, some political parties had difficulties finding suitable candidates to manage certain sectors. Similar difficulties were observed in the composition of the Saeima commissions. Here we can see a close correlation with the amount of resources invested by the parties in strengthening the expertise of their members, MP candidates, as well as in research and analytical work," explains the President.

The analysis of data on political organisations financing reveals that currently political parties or their associations primarily use the allocated to them state budget funding for salary costs and advertising. Accordingly, a smaller share of state budget funding is directed to the substantive activities of political parties.

Therefore, in order to facilitate the strengthening of the capacity of political organisations to a sufficient extent in the interest of the entire society, the draft law developed and submitted by the President of Latvia provides that a political party must use no less than 30% of the state budget funding spent in the given year for the substantive support of its activities.

The draft law will contribute to the development, sustainability, and parliamentary effectiveness of political parties. Meaningful use of state budget funding for political parties' cooperation with different groups of Latvian society, consultations to improve the party's work and programme, seminars, congresses, conferences, research, surveys, youth organisation events, and training for MP candidates will not only improve the substantive capacity of political parties, but also strengthen their ability to effectively represent the interests of their voters and implement their electoral programme once they enter the Saeima.

In line with the current framework of the Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties) and taking into account the increase in the minimum monthly salary in 2023, the state budget funding for political parties has increased accordingly this year.