NGOs to be allowed to finance referendums after all?

28. April 2015.

Public Administration Minister Arsen Bauk announced in Parliament on Tuesday that before the second reading of the bill on the financing of political activity, election campaigning and referendums he would ease the ban for civil society organisations to finance referendum activities.

The ban was opposed by nearly all members of the Committee on the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System, who said during a debate that limiting the amounts of donations for private citizens and legal entities and the obligation to publish financial reports was a sufficient guarantee that no one could influence the will of voters at a referendum with money.

Activists of several NGOs on Monday raised their voice against prohibiting civil society organisations and foundations from financing referendum activities and promotion, as envisaged by the bill which is to receive its first reading in Parliament. The activists warned that the bill would deal an additional blow to civic referendum activities, following restrictions in proposed amendments to the Referendum Act.