The main conclusions of the analysis:
- As in previous years, the parties did not spend all the funds. However, they spent more money percentage-wise than the previous year. If in 2021 they spent 110 million out of 232 million, i.e. 47%, in 2022 they spent 72%, i.e. 184 out of 256 million.
- As in previous years, the largest amounts spent remain those for media and advertising. All parties cumulatively spent 100 million in 2022, of which the PSD contracts gave 54 million on advertising contracts, i.e. 58% of the money spent by the party in 2022. The Liberals spent 39 million (70%), and USR 5 million (18%).
- PSD spent the most, but took a break in August, when it stopped putting money into contracts for media. The party made the biggest expenses at the end of the year, the peak of almost 7 million lei being reached in December 2021.
- The PNL peaked in funding in October 2021, when there were internal turmoil related to the anti-government Cîţu motion, then the internal fight to replace the party president.
- Among all the parties, PNL increased the funding for media the most in 2022 compared to 2021.
- In 2022, PNL had rather constant spending, including in the summer months.
- Even if we do not have data on the topics promoted by the parties, the analysis of those promoted by PSD through Facebook Ads shows us that topics such as Schengen, social measures were on the list, and in the last 2 years we find several anti-USR campaigns. Although we also find quarrels between PSD and PNL, they are much less violent. In December 2022, PNL promoted a one-year mandate for Prime Minister Ciucă. We must note, however, that this analysis is limiting, especially since the funds for online advertising are relatively reduced, with most of the contracts being directed to other means of promotion.
- Apart from media and propaganda expenses, most funds were spent on personnel, with a slight increase compared to 2021 (19 million lei). USR spent the most on personnel, i.e. 8 million (30%).
- There is an increase in spending on opinion polls and political consulting. All parties spent more than in 2021, indicating possible interest in the 2024 election year.
- The main problems related to the spending of funds remain low transparency and the use of funds for the public interest. In 2022, more than 100 million lei were spent on media, without knowing which are the products bought by the parties and how much is used for information and policy promotion, respectively how much is used for negative campaigns or if the money is used for to block certain news from reaching the public agenda.
- The Permanent Electoral Authority submitted a draft law to the Government in December that defines political advertising and introduces regulations regarding its marking, but also for reporting monthly and annual expenses, the project is currently blocked. It should be noted that the European Parliament voted at the beginning of February in favor of the new package of rules on strengthening the rules on political advertising.
Report published within the “Effective Combat Against Corruption” (ECAC) project, implemented with the support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and CEELI Institute (Central and Eastern European Law Initiative) .