Political parties should start with collecting membership fees instead of discussing banning private donations, Anvar Samost finds on the "Samost and sildam" talk show.
Center Party leader Jüri Ratas said in an interview to Vikerraadio this week that the Riigikogu could discuss banning private donations to parties and creating a situation where parties are financed strictly from the state budget.
Samost found the former prime minister's proposal unclear and an unnecessary solution. "It was made based on this idea that parties are somehow unable to make sure private donations are not made in exchange for corrupt favors," he said.
"These things will be solved once parties' secretaries general stop peddling influence," he remarked.
Sildam pointed out that banning private donations would render funding of the political system much clearer and more transparent, while Ratas' proposal suggests nothing in terms of how newly formed parties would be funded.
Samost said that parties should first look to collecting membership fees.
"A situation where a major political party with 10,000 or more members collects well under €100,000 in membership fees in a year is ridiculous. Perhaps that could motivate an amendment that would see a person thrown out if they do not pay their membership fee for a year," Samost reasoned.
"Before we start talking about banning private donations to parties, we could have most parties capable or collecting annual membership fees from at least half their members or giving up those who have no real connection to the party and do not pay," he said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski