Standards and guidelines

International Standards

United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). United Nations, 2005.  

Among other things, Article Seven of the UNCAC recommends member parties take appropriate legislative and administrative measures, consistent with the objectives of this convention and in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, to enhance transparency in the funding of candidates for elected public office and, where applicable, the funding of political parties.  

Political Finance Regulations: Bridging the Enforcement Gap. Policy Position No.2/2009: Transparency International, 2009.  

Political finance regulations are present in most states, yet only a portion of them are enforced appropriately. Based on this context, this policy position provides 10 guiding principles with which to enforce political finance regulations. Some of the principles covered include respect for the rule of law, legislative clarity, internal auditing by political parties, effective supervision, sanctioning and the role and responsibilities of regulatory bodies. The position’s objective is to provide clear rules that may be applied a variety of situations.  

Standards on Political Funding and Favours. Policy Position No. 1/2009: Transparency International, 2009.

When corruption distorts political party and campaign financing, candidate competition is warped, elections are undermined and the quality of government is compromised. This paper sets forth standards to ensure that elected politicians make decisions in the broader public interest and not to the benefit of those that funded their ascent to power.

Regional standards

Political party integrity: more accountable, more democratic. Transparency International, 2012.  

This policy position published by Transparency International addresses the perceived corrupt nature of political parties in Europe and calls on governments to address their integrity deficits by requiring political parties to be more accountable and transparent. Specific recommendations include limiting donations, strengthening transparency (particularly during campaigns), creating a single, independent and well-equipped supervisory body and ensuring enforcement of rules and sanctions.  

Code of Good Practice in the Field of Political Parties. Venice Commission, 2008.  

This code for political parties offers a number of specific features which introduce a new approach to the issue of party-related corruption. Its explicit aim is to reinforce political parties’ internal democracy and increase their credibility in the eyes of citizens, thus contributing to the legitimacy of the democratic process and institutions as a whole and fostering participation in political life, as well as to promote democratic principles such as equality, dialogue, co-operation, transparency and the fight against corruption.  

Principles for Election Management, Monitoring, and Observation in the SADC Region. Electoral Commissions Forum, 2003.  

The Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC countries developed the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring, and Observation in the SADC Region in 2003. This document states that “[t]he use of public assets and funds for party political purposes should be regulated in order to level the playing field for political competition (...) Political parties and candidates should account to the EMB for the use of such resources”.

Recommendations on Common Rules against Corruption in the Funding of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns. The Council of Europe, 2003.  

This set of recommendations, proposed in 2003 by the Council of Europe, aims to address issues in political financing by proposing a set of minimum standards that states can adhere to in order to improve the integrity and transparency of their political finance regime.

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