Election spending under OSCE spotlight

The head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) election observer mission has said his team will closely study campaign funding for the Swiss federal elections.

This content was published on October 15, 2011 - 13:30

In an interview with Le Temps newspaper, Peter Eicher, in Switzerland since Monday, said international standards demanded transparency.

“Swiss citizens would no doubt be interested in knowing where this money comes from. After transparency comes the question of regulating campaign financing. How much can a party spend? How much can a party receive?”

Eicher said these points had been covered by legislation in practically all European countries.

The American expert, who has completed some 15 observer missions,  also noted that improvements had been made since the OSCE’s report on the 2007 federal elections, published in 2008.

“It was taken very seriously by the government … Improvement measures have been taken, particularly in informing young voters and promoting the participation of women in politics,” Eicher added.

Meanwhile a survey of political advertising carried out by the Tages Anzeiger newspaper found that right-wing parties accounted for 80 per cent of spending.

Centre-right and rightwing parties spent SFr2.36 million ($2.64 million) on ads placed in 16 German-language newspapers between September 25 and October 12, the newspaper found, while the three centre-left to leftwing parties spent SFr598,000.

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