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Law no. 43/2003 on Financing the Political Parties’ activities and Electoral Campaigns

(Published in Official Journal no. 54 of 30 January 2003)


The Romanian Parliament adopts this law


CHAPTER I
General Provisions

Article 1.
(1) Financing the activities of political parties shall be done only according to the law.
(2) Providing the means to finance political parties’ activities should constitute the expression of a free, equal and direct the political competition.

Article 2.
Political parties may own movable and immovable assets, which are necessary to perform their specific activity.

Article 3.
(1) Financing sources of a political party’s activity may include:
a. fees of the party members;
b. donations and legacies;
c. revenue from its own activities;
d. subsidies from the state budget.
(2) Political parties’ payments and cashing operations may be done, according to law, through bank Auditors in lei and foreign currency, opened in banks with headquarters in Romania.
(3) Income obtained from activities under par. (1) are exempt from taxes.

CHAPTER II
Private Financing
Section 1
Contributions

Article 4.
(1) The amount of the contributions, their distribution and use shall be established by the decisions of the political party, according to statute.
(2) The amount of the total revenue from contributions shall be unlimited.
(3) The amount of a member’s contributions paid in one year may constitute up to 100 minimum gross salaries per country. The minimum gross salary per country shall be considered the one existent on January 1 of that particular year.

Section 2
Donations

Article 5.
(1) The donations received by a political party in a fiscal year may not exceed 0.025% of state revenues from that year.
(2) The fiscal year in which elections will be held, the ceiling shall be of 0.050% of state revenues from that year.
3) Donations received from an individual may be of up to 200 minimum gross salaries per country at the value existing on January 1 of that year.
(4) Donations received from a legal entity in a can be of up to 500 minimum gross salaries per country at the value existing on January 1 of that year. Legal entities are bound to have fully paid all debts to the state budget and state social insurance budget, at the time of donation.
(5) The value of movable and immovable assets donated to the party, as well as the carried out services shall be included in the value of the donations, limited under par. (1) - (4).
(6) Upon receipt of the donation, it is required to verify the identity and record the donor. At the donor’s request, his identity may remain confidential, in case donation is limited to amount of 10 minimum gross salaries per country. The total amount of confidential donations received by a political party cannot exceed 15% of the maximum grant awarded by the state budget to a political party that year.
(7) All donations will be properly reflected in the bookkeeping records, mentioning the date on which they were made and other information needed to identify sources of funding. Donations in kind - goods or services - will be reflected in the records at market value determined under the law.
(8) The list of persons who have made donations in a year, the cumulated value of which exceeds 10 minimum gross salaries per country, and the total amount of confidential donations shall be published in the Official Journal, Part III, until March 31, next year.
(9) The list of the donors and the party's book-keeping records must include at least the following elements: name, address and, when applicable, headquarters, citizenship or, nationality of the donor, number and series of the identity act and the personal identification number or, where appropriate, the unique registration code, the amount and the type of the donation and the date when it was made.
(10) It is forbidden to accept directly or indirectly donations of assets or money or free services made in order to obtain a clear economic or political advantage.

Article 6.
(1) Political parties may not accept donations or free services from a public authority or institution, autonomous administration, national company, bank or company with complete or majority state owned capital. Cash donations from a trade union are also prohibited. These amounts shall be confiscated and transferred to the state budget’s income.
(2) Donations from other states, foreign organizations, individuals or legal entities are prohibited. The goods needed for the political activity, but which are not election propaganda materials received from international political organizations to which that political party is affiliated or political parties and political entities that are partners of cooperation shall constitute an exception from the provisions of this paragraph. These donations shall be published in the Official Journal, Part III, until March 31 next year.
(3) Donations made under par. (2) shall be exempted from customs duties.

Section 3
Other sources of income

Article 7.
Political parties cannot carry on activities specific for companies. The following are exception:
a. editing, production and distribution of publications or other materials of propaganda and political culture;
b. organizing meetings and seminars with political, economic or social topics;
c. cultural, sport and entertainment activities;
d. domestic services;
e. renting own spaces for conferences and socio-cultural activities;
f. bank rates;
g. alienation of immovable property, but only after at least five years from registering it as property.

Article 8.
If a party is associated, by law, with a non-political entity, the financial contribution of the latter to this specific association type shall not exceed per year the amount of 500 gross minimum economy salaries, existing on January 1 of that year.

CHAPTER III
Public (government) funding
Subsidies from state budget

Article 9.
(1) Political parties receive, according to the law, annual subsidies from the state budget. The monthly subsidy shall be transferred to the account of each political party through the General Secretariat of Government’s budget and reflected separately in bookkeeping documents.
(2) The amount annually allocated for political parties cannot be greater than 0.04% of state’s budget revenues.
(3) The political parties that have representatives in the Parliament at the beginning of its activity, at least in a Chamber, shall receive a basic subvention. The total amount of subventions represent one third of the budgetary subventions allocated to political parties.
(4) Political parties represented in Parliament shall receive a subsidy proportional to the number of obtained seats. The amount for a seat is calculated by dividing the remaining two thirds of the state budget subventions for political parties to the total number of MPs.
(5) The total amount of subventions paid from the state budget to a political party, after these operations cannot exceed 5 times the basic subvention.
(6) The political parties without parliamentary seats, but won less than 1% below the election threshold, shall receive equal subventions to be determined by dividing the unused amount, according to par. (5) to the number of respective political parties. The total amount awarded to non-parliamentary political parties cannot be higher than a basic subvention.
(7) The amounts unused after redistribution, according to par. (6) shall be distributed to the parliamentary political parties proportionally to the number of seats.
(8) At the end of financial year, the unused amounts shall be reported in the next year.

Article 10.
(1) Income from budgetary subsidies may have the following destinations:
a. The expenses for maintaining and administrating premises;
b. personnel costs;
c. expenses for press and propaganda;
d. costs for organizing political activities;
e. travel expenses within the country and abroad;
f. charges for telecommunications;
g. expenditure for foreign delegations;
h. investments in movable and immovable property needed for the respective parties;
i. election campaign expenses.
(2) The effectiveness and appropriateness of these expenditures shall be decided by the governing bodies of the political parties, according to their status and legal provisions governing the use of public funds.

Article 11.
(1) Local authorities shall provide space for central and local political headquarters, at their motivated request.
(2) The space rental of space for political parties’ premises shall have the same legal status as renting space for habitation.
(3) Political parties are exempt from paying taxes for premises their own, except those bought at inventory value.
(4) Political parties which cease their activity by self-dissolving, by courts decision dissolution or otherwise provided by law are required to hand over to local authorities, within 60 days, the premises possessed due to rent agreement. Owned spaces shall be transmitted according to the law.
(5) Within 60 days, the Bucharest Court shall communicate the prefects, the ceasing of the political party’s activity, in order for the rented premises to be taken over by local authorities, with the help of the enforcement officers.

Article 12.
The payment for all the party’s telecommunications, electricity, gas, water, etc. expenses party shall constitute its exclusive responsibility of its exclusive and shall be made according to the charge for habitation premises.

CHAPTER IV
Funding during election campaigns

Section 1
State budget subventions for election campaign

Article 13.
(1) By special law, all parties participating in the election campaign can receive a subvention from the state budget. The law on granting this subvention shall established the categories for the election campaign expenditures financed from it.
(2) Parties that have not passed the threshold for the elections in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate or at local elections shall return the subvention, under par. (1) within two months from the publication of the elections final results in the Official Journal, Part I.
(3) In case the parties come in the elections as part of a political alliance, the subsidy provided in para. (1) shall be given to the alliance.

Section 2
Contributions for election campaign

Article 14.
Contributions received after opening the election campaign from national individuals or legal entities, except subsidies stipulated in Art. 13 can be used for a party’s election campaign only if, in advance, are declared by the authorized agent to the Court of Auditors.

Article 15.
It is forbidden to finance, directly or indirectly, an electoral campaign by foreign individual or legal entity. The amounts received in this way shall be confiscated and transferred to the state budget.

Article 16.
It is prohibited for a public authority, public institution, autonomous administration, national company, bank or company owned integrally or with majority by the state, a trade union, association or foundation to fund the electoral campaign of any party, alliance or independent candidate. The amounts received in this way shall be confiscated and transferred to the state budget.
Section 3
Financial Authorized Agent

Article 17.
(1) The reception for the electoral campaign of state budget subsidies, donations or legacy from individuals or legal entities shall be done only through a financial authorized agent, designated for that purpose by the party leadership.
(2) The financial authorized agent is obliged to make bookkeeping of records of financial transactions for each constituency, in case of elections for the Chamber of Deputies and, respectively, for the Senate, and in case of local elections, for each county, and, respectively, for each candidate for mayor.
(3) The authorized agent shall be jointly liable with the party that appointed him for the legality of the transactions made during the electoral campaign and for preserving the provisions of art. 14-16.
(4) The financial authorized agent may be an individual or a legal entity.
(5) A party may have more financial authorized agents, at central level, for filials or candidates. In such case, their attributions shall be split and a financial authorized coordinator agent shall be appointed.
(6) Several parties may not use the same the services of the same financial authorized agent.
(7) The status of a financial authorized agent shall be acquired only after its official registration at the Court of Auditors and communicated in the media.

Article 18.
The provisions of Article 17 shall apply accordingly to independent candidates.

Article 19.
Expenses related to organizing and carrying out electoral operations shall be supported from the state budget or, as applicable, from local or county budgets, in accordance with electoral laws.

Article 20.
(1) The access to public radio and television during the election campaign, as well as to special publicity places is ensured and guaranteed, according to the provisions of election laws.
(2) All parties and political alliances, and independent candidates are required to print on all posters and propaganda materials the name of the party or electoral alliance that edited them, the name of the economic agent that printed them and declare to the Court of Auditors, through the financial authorized agent, the number of election posters printed.

Section 4
The maximum limits for expenditure

Article 21.
(1) The maximum limits for expenditure that can be made by a political party in every election campaign shall be calculated by summing the maximum permitted values for each candidate proposed for elections.
(2) The maximum amounts allowed for each candidate depend on minimum gross salary per country as at January 1 of election year, as follows:
a. 150 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for deputy or senator;
b. 20 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for the position of county councilor in the County Councils or General Council of Bucharest;
c. 15 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for local councilor in the municipal councils and county council of Bucharest;
d. 10 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for local councilor in the councils of cities and towns;
e. 2 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for local councilor in the municipal councils;
f. 10,000 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for mayor of Bucharest;
g. 2,000 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for mayor of a county;
h. 500 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for mayor of a sector of Bucharest or of a city or town;
i. 20 minimum gross salaries per country for each candidate for mayor of a municipality.
(3) The maximum expenses limits under par. (2) shall apply also to independent candidates.
(4) Upon validation, the party or county organization leadership, or, where appropriate, the independent candidate shall submit to the Court of Auditors a declaration on compliance with the limits stipulated in par. (2). The sums which exceed the limits under par. (2) shall be revenues to the state budget.

Article 22.
(1) The maximum limit for expenditures made by a party, political alliance or independent candidate during the election campaign for the election of the President of Romania is 25,000 minimum gross salaries per country.
(2)  The provisions of art. 13-20, art. 21 para. (4) and Art. 25, 27 and 31 shall apply accordingly.
(3) If the elections for the President of Romania take place simultaneously with the Chamber of Deputies and Senate elections, the parties that propose a candidate for president will appoint an authorized agent for the electoral campaign of the candidate in question.
(4) Parties that have not won at least 10% of the votes for the proposed candidate throughout the country, as well as independent candidates who are in the same situation will return the subsidies from the budget within two months from the ending of the campaign.

Article 23.
When a candidate is proposed for more functions in an electoral campaign, the maximum limit for expenditures that can be performed shall be establish at the highest value according to art. 21 or 22, respectively.

CHAPTER V
Control of funding political parties and electoral campaigns

Article 24.
(1) Court of Auditors is the only public authority empowered to monitor the financing of political parties’ compliance with the legal provisions.
(2) The Court of Auditors shall verify annually the compliance of every party with the legal provisions on establishing and spending their funds.
(3) The Court of Auditors shall maintain a register of political parties, political alliances and independent candidates with all data on their financial activity to be declared the Court of Auditors under this law.

Article 25.
1) Within 15 days from publishing the results of elections, the financial authorized agent is required to file with the Court of Auditors a detailed report of each party’s or independent candidate’s revenues and expenses. The report shall be published in the Official Journal, Part III.
(2) The mandate validation of candidates declared elected is conditioned by the submission of the financial report stipulated in par. (1).

Article 26.
(1) To verify the legality of receipts and payments during the electoral campaign, the Court of Auditors may request any additional documents it considers necessary.
(2) Within 30 days of receipt of the report or, if additional documents are required, the Court will decide on the correctness of the electoral bookkeeping documents and on the legality of the payments, as stipulated in art. 56 of Law no. 94/1992 on the organization and functioning of the Court of Auditors, republished, amended by Law no. 77/2002. If it is estimated that there are some irregularities or violations of legal restrictions on income and expenses, the Court of Auditors may order completely or partially restitution of the received subvention.
(3) The decision taken by the Court of Auditors in accordance with par. (2) may be appealed to the Supreme Court, according to the law.

CHAPTER VI
Sanctions

Article 27.
(1) The following deeds shall constitute contravention and shall be sanctioned with a from 30,000,000 lei to 300,000,000 lei:
a. failure to publish in the Official Journal, Part III, the donations received, according to art. 5. (8), and the donations received under Art. 6. (2) sentence II, until March 31 next year;
b. receiving subsidies for election campaign otherwise than through a financial authorized agent or breaching his obligations under this law;
c. acceptance of contributions or donations in contradiction with Art. 4 (3), Art. 5 or 6;
d. acceptance  or making donations or free services in order to obtain a clear economic or political advantage;
e. failure to register money or goods entered under any title in the party's propriety;
f. failure to submit in time the financial report and supporting documents to the Court of Auditors;
g. printing or distributing publications, posters and other election propaganda materials, breaching art. 20 para. (2);
h directly or indirectly subsidizing the electoral campaign, by foreign individuals or legal entities;
i. subsidizing in any way the electoral campaign by a public authority, public institution, autonomous administration, national company with a integral or majority state capital;
j. failure to return subsidies from the state budget according to and in the term stipulated in art. 13, para. (2);
k. withholding money, goods or services received by the party according to art. 14;
l. obtaining material support for the party’s activity by other means than those stipulated by this law.
(2) The sanctions may apply, as the case may be, to the financial authorized agent, or to the political party or to the donor who has violated the above legal provisions.

Article 28.
(1) In the cases stipulated in art. 27 para. (1). b) c) d) e), h), i), k) and l) the money or goods that have been subject to contravention will be transferred to the state budget, based on the decision of the Jurisdictional Board of the Court of Auditors.

(2) Similarly, to the state budget shall be transferred the accepted donations by a party which is to end up its activity or a party acting in on the basis of its amended status, although the changes were not communicated to the Bucharest Court, as required by law or court refused to approve the status change.

Article 29.
Non-observance of the legal limits for the electoral expenses provided for in Art. 22 shall also constitute a contravention and shall be punished with a fine, not less than half the amount of the surplus and more than a triple it.

Article 30.
The contravention stipulated in art. 27 and 29 shall be ascertained by the financial controllers of the Court of Auditors, and the sanctions shall be establish by the Jurisdictional Board of the Court of Auditors.

Article 31.
(1) If, by final court decision, one or more candidates of a party declared elected have been convicted for a crime in connection with financing their party or, the electoral campaign, they are incompatible, for a determined term, by decision of Parliament or, as appropriate, county or local council. Alternates from the list of that party shall fill the vacant positions of deputies, senators or advisers.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall apply to independent candidates, the place became vacant in this case will be fulfilled from the party list or electoral alliance having the largest number of valid votes.

Article 32.
By the Chambers of Parliament’s regulations, as well as local and county councils’ regulations shall be regulated the procedure for implementing the measures provided under Articles. 31.

CHAPTER VII
Final

Article 33.
The provisions of this Law shall apply accordingly to organizations of citizens belonging to national minorities.

Article 34.
On the date of entry into force of this Law shall be repealed:
• chapter VI - Political parties’ finances, namely Art. 32-45 of the Law No. 32-45. 27/1996 on  political parties with subsequent amendments;
• Art. 45 and art. 72 m) of Law no. 68/1992 on elections for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, with amendments and completions;
• Art. 28 para. (2) and (3) of Law no. 69/1992 for the election of the President of Romania, with subsequent modifications;
• Art. 56 and art. 85 points. m) of Law no. 70/1991 on local elections, republished, with subsequent amendments and any other provisions contrary to this law.

Article 35.
This Law shall come into force within 30 days after publication in the Official Journal,
Part I.

This law was adopted by the Chamber of Deputies and Senate in joint session on December 19, 2002, according to Art. 74 para. (1) and Art. 76 para. (2) of the Romanian Constitution.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
Valer DORNEANU


THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
NICOLAE VACAROIU