Analysis report

Financing the Electoral Campaign for the 9 June elections (I)

EFOR analyzed the data related to the financing of the electoral campaign, published by the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) on May 16. The report includes data on sources of financing, expenditures, and rankings of the largest contributions for each type of election. Additionally, we included an analysis of online expenditures made through Facebook or Google.

 

Although the legislation does not include specific provisions, the AEP published the revenues and expenditures of the electoral competitors on May 16 at www.finantarepartide.ro, thereby increasing the transparency of the process. The publication of expenditures is a new and welcome aspect. We remind that EFOR has recommended the periodic publication of expenditures in previous monitoring reports on political/campaign financing, as well as the regulation of this practice at the legislative level.

 

Main Conclusions

Statistics on the largest contributions can be consulted in the report.

European ParliamentElections

  • As of May 16, revenues of 40 million lei have been reported, with 14 million lei coming from candidates and 26 million lei from parties, through transfers from party funds. No funds from state subsidies have been declared. It is worth noting that in the 2019 European Parliamentary elections, 95 million lei in revenues and 90 million lei in expenditures were reported.
  • The National Liberal Party (PNL) declared a single contribution from a candidate and no transfers from the party. The Social Democratic Party (PSD) declared the most money – 33 million lei. The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) declared only contributions from candidates, amounting to 3.2 million lei. The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) and the Save Romania Union (USR) transferred only funds from the party.
  • The majority of candidate contributions come from personal incomes (65% – 9 million lei), with the rest from loans (32%) and donations (3%). Transfers from parties come from private financing, with USR being the only competitor that transferred 500,000 lei obtained from loans from individuals.
  • All of AUR’s contributors are in eligible positions, as are the majority of PSD’s contributors. For the Social Democrats, Andi Lucian Cristea declared 500,000 lei despite being in the 20th position, while Cristian Epure, proposed by the Liberals, is in the 27th position and has loaned 2,475,000 lei for the campaign. The two contributors from the People’s Movement Party (PMP) are in positions that do not guarantee election to the European Parliament.
  • The largest contributions are from the Social Democrat Florin Cârciu – 2,457,000 lei (personal income), and the Liberal Cristian Epure (loan), followed by a 2 million lei contribution from personal income by the Social Democrat Senator Vasile Dîncu.
  • Candidates in the top positions on the candidate lists have not contributed to the campaign financing so far.
  • Expenditures of 11 million lei have been recorded. PSD has incurred the highest expenditures, amounting to 9,333,162.38 lei, mostly for clothing. USR dedicated 411,343.96 lei for the production and dissemination of online electoral propaganda materials and 135,000 lei for various expenses, while AUR spent 1,190,000 lei on online propaganda. Other electoral competitors have not yet declared any expenditures.

Local Elections

  • In terms of revenues, 59 million lei were reported from candidates (including independents) and 1.3 million from political parties, alliances, and organizations of citizens belonging to national minorities, through transfers at both central and county levels. In the 2020 elections, parties raised 178 million lei and spent 167 million lei.
  • The majority of revenues, 93%, come from the candidates’ own incomes (55 million lei), while 7% (4 million lei) come from loans. Donations represent less than 1% – 271,000 lei.
  • For the National Liberal Party (PNL), the largest contributions came from the counties of Vrancea, Constanța, Neamț, Alba, and Botoșani, while for the Social Democratic Party (PSD), they came from Dolj, Argeș, Teleorman, Ialomița, and Dâmbovița. For the Save Romania Union (USR), the list of counties from which contributions originate is shorter, with most of the money coming from candidates in Cluj (40%), Sector 2 (28%), and Constanța (11%). For the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), the most active candidates come from Botoșani, Timiș, and Bistrița, while for SOS Romania, half of the money was declared by candidates from Bacău, Dolj, and Olt.
  • Over half of the funds were brought in by candidates for the position of mayor. Significant contributions, totaling 10 million lei, also came from candidates for the position of County Council president.
  • Some candidates for the position of General Mayor have not declared any income (e.g., Cristian Popescu Piedone/PUSL), nor have the parties that support them.
  • Up to the reporting date, the parties have spent 3.5 million lei, with an additional 345,000 lei spent by independent candidates.

Social Media

Facebook

  • The data related to Facebook covers the period from May 9 to May 15. During this period, parties recorded expenses of nearly one million lei. In comparison, in the first three months, according to EFOR calculations, parties spent 2.4 million lei.
  • The most money was spent by the National Liberal Party (PNL) – over 300,000 lei, the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) – 200,000 lei, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – 173,000 lei, and the Save Romania Union (USR) – 95,000 lei. Additionally, we identified several pages that were promoted but whose owner is not clear. These pages promote negative campaigns against certain parties or politicians.

Google

  • From May 10 to May 16, 235,000 lei were spent on Google, by 51 promoters (political parties or consulting firms), both at the local level through party branches and for local candidates, as well as at the central level. The campaigns are oriented both towards the European Parliamentary elections and local candidates.


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