The fourth in a series of global conferences highlighting the issues of Money in Politics will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia 18-19 February and focus on the role money plays in Eastern and Central Europe.
Issues that will be discussed during the conference are the capture of the political process by a few, using money as a means to exercise influence over politics. The phenomenon of business people advancing their corporate or personal interests as elected representatives is not unusual and private sector kickbacks in return for government favours have been behind party funding scandals in many countries.
Another crucial issue is the misuse of administrative resources, often during the electoral process. Whether the abuse is related to unequal access to media or to governments extracting money from state owned companies, its effects on the ability for equal competition between the government and the opposition is damaging.
Even more serious is the reported penetration of illegal funds into politics, stemming for example from organized crime or foreign sources.
The conference gathers political finance experts from around the world and aims to identify areas of political finance regulations in need of reform; exchange good practices and lessons learned on the effective enforcement and monitoring of political finance legal frameworks; identify approaches, mechanisms and procedures for improving the implementation of existing regulations; and help form a regional peer network on political finance.
Organized jointly by International IDEA, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the State Audit Office of Georgia, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
The first in the series of conferences was organized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), was held in Paris in December 2014. It was followed by conferences organized by International IDEA and partners in Brasilia, Mexico City and New Delhi in 2015.
Key note addresses will be delivered by International IDEA Secretary-General Yves Leterme, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili, Francois Friedrich, Head of Division of Electoral Assistance at the CoE, Marcin Walecki, Head of Democratization Department at the OSCE, US Ambassador to Georgia Ian C Kelly and Jos Douma, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Georgia