On Thursday (11 June), during the International Conference on Campaign Financing and Democracy organized by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) in Brasília, the Court launched the book Financiamento de partidos políticos e campanhas eleitorais (Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: A Handbook), a publication of great international prestige and a reference on the matter throughout the world. The Secretary-General of the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA International), Yves Leterme, presented the manual along with Daniel Zovatto, director of IDEA International for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Magnus Ohman, senior researcher at the International Foundation for Election Systems.
“We are delighted to have this handbook in Portuguese," Leterme said. He added that the product is excellent and that its release in a language other than English strengthens the impact of IDEA's work. “Having its material translated into several languages will increase the reach of the Handbook. I believe that this cooperation was very important, and also very productive, for all of us.”
Magnus Ohman, in turn, highlighted the second chapter of the manual, which provides an overview of funding regulations and the best ways to reform them. He pointed out that countries worldwide have had problems with political funding and that it is crucial to analyze the effectiveness of such regulations, taking into account factors such as the political objectives and the political vision of each country, the context of each one and the specific set of challenges faced by every nation regarding money in politics. “The goal is to avoid political mistakes with rules that really work. We hope that future generations will discuss how regulations should be applied and how transparency can be achieved," he said.
Last to speak, Daniel Zovatto made a reflection on election financing trends and issues in Latin America, noting that this issue was not even an item of the political agenda 25 years ago. “Fraud and autonomy were the big wave. Electoral funding then gradually rose to become central theme of debates, without resistance.” To Zovatto, political funding is a global issue that will constantly face issues. He was optimistic on the topic, however, adding that "crises will always be great partners of reform”. The director of the IDEA International for Latin America and the Caribbean also highlighted some issues that have been debated in Latin America (such as 100% public financing of campaigns, the existence of unlimited contributions from businesses, equity in access to the means of communication, the limitation of electoral spending, oversight of expenses, the misuse of State resources - mainly in a re-election context - and control mechanisms and sanctions for candidates and political parties). “We are living a second generation of reforms, now more specific and focused on transparency and fairness," he concluded.
The Portuguese edition of the Handbook is the result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the TSE and the IDEA International during the 2014 elections. Its printing relied on collaboration from the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), while the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) was responsible for the editing and translation of the manual.