Thursday 17 June 2021

OAS Critiques Costa Rica Political Campaign Funding

COSTA RICA NEWS – Costa Rican elections are generally regarded by international observers as exemplary but the Organization of American States (OAS) has some modest suggestion to make them fairer.

The fairness factor concerns campaign financing.

The OAS feels that current financing laws favor large parties, even though financing does exist to defray some legitimate expenses with government funds. The organization came up with a series of suggestions.

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The Washington D.C. based organization had some proposals after the 2010 election but came up with more emphatic suggestions in the wake of the 2014 balloting, opining that “the inequality of the campaign needs to be reviewed in a holistic manner.”

The suggest to (1) “create conditions for free of charge access to radio and TV for all parties, (2) make all campaign financing available beforehand instead of reimbursing the parties or at least make 15% of it available, (3) create machinery for advance funding where the parties would not be required to generate liquid fund guarantees of payment.

Some of these proposals are encompassed in an election reform bill presented in April, 2013, by the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) that has yet to come to debate. Magistrate Luis Antonio Sobrado, president of TSE admits the disparity in political funding.

But there is some push back from radio and TV owners and stockholders. The government regulation of election coverage is a slippery slope that can affect freedom of the press, they say. Moreover, the press gets its revenues by advertising and free ads for the large number of small parties can drive some media into bankruptcy.

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Moreover, some of the parties are tiny and represent more an ego satisfaction for their founders than a serious political point of view. Finally, the door is wide open for fraud. In the last two elections parties and politicians have regarded contributions from taxpayers a pure windfall.

Article by iNews.co.cr, Reposted with permission

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