Costs of political campaigns to be disclosed in the canton of Bern

In the canton of Bern, the costs of election and voting campaigns are to be reported transparently in the future. The government council has sent a corresponding amendment to the law on political rights for consultation.

The financing of voting campaigns in the canton of Bern is to become more transparent. (Symbol image: Keystone/Peter Klaunzer)

This was announced by the government on Tuesday. It is thus implementing the demand of a motion that the Grand Council passed by a narrow majority in the winter session 2021. The innovation affects parties, interest groups and candidates.

Campaigns of more than CHF 20,000 for cantonal elections and referendums are to be disclosed in future. In the case of these campaigns, contributions of more than 5,000 francs must also be disclosed.

Higher thresholds are envisaged for the cantonally regulated elections to the Council of States: More than CHF 50,000 for campaigns and more than CHF 15,000 per contribution. Under federal law, these values also apply to National Council elections.

The consultation period lasts until January 22, 2024, and the new transparency rules are to be applied for the first time in the 2026 cantonal elections at the latest.

Controversial demand

The amendment to the law is based on a motion from the ranks of the SP, the Greens, the EVP and the GLP, which was passed in December 2021. The government had recommended rejection of the proposal. At the time, it argued that the cost and benefit of such disclosure would not be in a favorable ratio.

Proponents countered that transparency in party financing is important. Those who are honestly committed have nothing to hide. (SDA)

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