Essayah: Money should not be a major player in elections

The committee established to reform the law on financing election and political parties in Finland announced its central views on increasing the transparency of party financing today. The purpose of the committee’s work is to increase the transparency and openness of party financing in order to prevent commitments and inappropriate financing.

Overall, the Christian Democrats are content with the Committee’s views which nevertheless were not unanimously formed in all respects. Sari Essayah was the Christian Democrat representative on the Committee and submitted two dissenting opinions in the report to be published in November.

The Christian Democrats called for an annual maximum limit of 15 000 euros for individual donations. According to the model proposed by the Christian Democrats, campaign expenditure for individual candidates in parliamentary elections would be limited to 30 000 euros.

”My suggestion of a EUR 15 000 annual limit for individual donations would have been more efficient in stifling the election support given by associations and foundations,” says Ms Essayah.

The limit of 30 000 euros for campaign expenditure in parliamentary elections per candidate was, according to Ms Essayah, justified in order to ensure that campaigns would not expand unnecessarily and that money would not become the primary factor in elections.

The proposals of the Committee will be considered by the Finnish Government during the course of the autumn and parliament will decide on the matter next spring. It is intended that the new rules will be in force before the campaign period of the 2011 parliamentary elections beings next autumn.