On 27 April 2021, the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously in Constitutional Case No. 13/2019, which was initiated in relation to the changed conditions regarding the financing of political parties.

Transparency International-Bulgaria welcomes this decision and expresses fulfillment of  the fact that its expertise, reflected in the Opinion sent in the framework of the constitutional case, has contributed to the resolution of the identified problems. The Opinion rebutted the unfortunate legislative decisions of the 44th National Assembly, which:

(1) allowed unrestricted funding from companies;

(2) created a practical possibility for funding from all types of legal entities (including government and municipal, contractors of public procurement and concessions, gambling companies, companies operating in state-regulated sectors);

(3) created conditions for an imbalance between funding sources, by questioning the receipt of government subsidies;

(4) invented and promoted a model of so-called “open funding”, which does not exist in any democratic.

In 2019, Transparency International-Bulgaria developed a series of expert opinions on the changes and mobilised the support of the academic community and a number of NGOs. At that time, we committed not only to participate in the discussion on this topic, but also to inform all partners about the outcome.

Today we have an occasion to express our fulfillment with the Constitutional Court’s decision, which supports political pluralism, the equality of citizens’ political rights and the possibility of public and institutional control over political financing. At the same time, we would like to stress that the decision comes almost two years after the changes were made, a period in which conditions were created for significant damage to the activities of the parties and to the political climate in the country.

We emphasize that we will continue to follow with attention the discussion in the 45th National Assembly, which is again considering the proposal to reduce the state subsidy to BGN 1. In its essence, this proposal contradicts basic standards, such as the balance between funding sources and public support for the activities of political parties. It also contradicts the arguments set out in the Constitutional Court’s judgment on Article 21 of the Political Parties Act.

Transparency International – Bulgaria declares that it will continue to actively participate in the discussion on the issue and that it continues to stand by the position that the rules in this area should be considered in the framework of a comprehensive system for financing political activity and to ensure political pluralism and public control over the activities of the parties.

Sofia, 29 April 2021