Dr Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for International IDEA during his remarks at the seminar "The challenge of political financing in Argentina and in Córdoba".
Dr Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for International IDEA, made a presentation at the seminar "The challenge of political financing in Argentina and in Córdoba", adressing the main challenges of political financing in Argentina and specifically in the province of Córdoba.
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The challenges posed by political financing in Argentina in general, and in Córdoba in particular, were the focus of the seminar that took place in Córdoba, Argentina on 6 September 2017. The event was co-organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and International IDEA.
In his keynote speech, Dr Zovatto addressed the complex, yet very important relationship between money and politics. During his remarks, he noted that while democracy has no price, it does have operating costs. He also indicated that money is a two-edged sword: it is essential, yet at the same time problematic. There is no politics without money, but money when unchecked tends to erode or capture democratic politics; hence the importance of adequate regulatory frameworks to ensure that the democratic system controls money, and not the other way round. Adressing the relationship between political financing, and corruption, influence-peddling, and conflicts of interest, Dr Zovatto highlighted the need to have a broad approach that not only guarantees the integrity of the electoral system (due to the improper influence of illegal political financing), but the integrity of the political system as a whole. During his remarks, he also analyzed the impacts that the mega-phenomena such as the 'Car Wash scandal' (Lava Jato) and 'Odebrecht' are having on corruption and illegal financing not only in Brazil but at least in 12 countries of the region.
In the last part of his presentation, the Regional Director proposed a series of reforms aimed at enhancing current legislation on political financing, both at federal and provincial levels, including the folowing:
1. achieve an optimal combination of public and private financing;
2. improve the conditions of equity in electoral contests (avoiding the phenomenon of the "inequal level playing field that tends to favor the party or group in power, and controlling abuse of government money");
3. improve the regulation of private financing;
4. ensure effective compliance with the ceilings set for election spending;
5. increase the levels of transparency and accountability; and
6. strengthen the sanctions regime (having the candidates share liability) and the oversight bodies.
The keynote speech of Dr Zovatto was discussed by Omar Ruiz (former provincial legislator and delegate of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Córdoba); Roberto Battaglino, a journalist from La Voz del Interior; and representatives of four political parties – Roberto Birri (PS), Adolfo Somoza (FC), Fernando Machado (GEN), and Luciana Echeverría (MST-Nueva Izquierda). The discussion was moderated by Omar Ruiz and Federico Orlando (representative of CEPPAS).
Upon the conclusion of the activity, Omar Ruiz put forward the proposal to form a network of politicians from the progressive spectrum in Córdoba, whose objective would be to discuss an agenda of political-electoral reforms for the province of Córdoba in 2018.
La Voz has also published an article on 17 September 2017 titled: "Regulating the coexistence between money and politics".