Italy moves to abolish political party funding

Italy's lower house of parliament has voted to abolish state funding of political parties, a move which could also see an increasing role for women in politics.

Italy moves to abolish political party funding
Following the vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the proposal will now move to the Senate. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The Chamber of Deputies voted 288-115 in favour of the decision, with seven abstentions, Il Secolo XIX reported on Wednesday. The decision to abolish public financing of political parties will now move to the Senate and, if approved, will be introduced gradually.

The proposal caps private donations at €300,000 a year for individuals, reduced to €200,000 for people who work in the justice system, the newspaper said.

But the move has been criticized in some quarters as a ploy designed to garner support among voters.

“This move is, first and foremost, an attempt by the parties to reduce anti-party feeling which is said to be the main driver behind support for the Five Star Movement [party],” said Duncan McDonnell, a Marie Curie fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.

“The public funding of parties, in itself, is no bad thing. It stops parties being too dependent on private donations by vested interests,” McDonnell told The Local.

The real problem is abuse of the system, he added, with parties getting too much money without being held to account for the funds.

In addition to the gradual shift towards private funding, new measures, if passed by the Senate, will also penalize parties with less than 40 percent of female candidates. For every percentage point below this figure, party contributions will be docked by 0.5 percent. 

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