Cyprus Mail

Party spending exceeds stated revenues

Disy leader Averof Neophytou with party candidates for Nicosia for the parliamentary elections in 2021

Political parties did not give a proper accounting for their revenues and expenses for the May 2021 parliamentary elections, with all sorts of omissions in their books, the auditor-general said in a special report released Tuesday.

Among the report’s main findings were that eight parties provided inadequate data in general; seven did not submit all their election campaign revenues; ten failed to cite all their expenses; and five included spending unrelated to the campaign.

In addition, three parties used part of the regular state grant to cover some of their campaign expenses, with the worst offender being Solidarity. The party cited as its only revenues the amount of the regular state grant – which by law is not supposed to be used for election purposes.

On election years, parties normally receive an ad hoc grant from the state for campaign spending, in addition to the annual state grant. But as the auditor’s report notes, in 2021 specifically the state in fact did not allot the parties the ad hoc grant for election spending.

Because of this, Solidarity was able to show balanced books for the 2021 elections – revenues equaling expenses (€258,000).

The only other party balancing its books was Generational Change, reporting both revenues and expenses of €26,000.

All other parties’ expenditures far exceeded their declared revenues. Disy spent €1.465 million while reporting revenues of €305,000; Akel had expenses of €726,000 and revenues of €241,000; and Diko spent €419,000 while reporting €239,000 in revenue.

The Greens stood out in this respect, reporting revenues of just €19,000 and €198,000 in spending.

In a special section of the report, the auditor-general made a number of recommendations, including tweaking the relevant legislation to boost transparency in reporting and remove any ‘grey areas’.

The May 2021 legislative elections saw Disy come in first with 27.77 per cent of the popular vote, with Akel in second place at 22.34 per cent.

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