Maximum 8.66 million

Only the NEOS and the Greens have budgets for their election campaigns

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09.07.2024 11:30

For the most important election in this year's super election year - the National Council elections in the fall - the parties also have the largest budgets. As usual, the three major parties are not revealing their campaign budgets; only the NEOS and the Greens are putting a figure on their planned expenditure. As of today's deadline, the counter for the upper limit for election campaign costs is running: the parties are each allowed to spend a maximum of 8.66 million euros up to election day.

The ÖVP, SPÖ and FPÖ have so far refused to provide any information on their campaign budgets. When asked, the ÖVP merely emphasized that it would adhere to the statutory upper limit for election campaign costs. As in the run-up to the EU elections, only the Greens and NEOS are more forthcoming. The NEOS have budgeted 3.1 million euros for the National Council election campaign. The figure for the 2019 election was 2.4 million euros. The clear majority of the budget, almost two million euros, is to be spent on marketing and events.

Greens plan 5 million euros
In the case of the Greens, the federal party is planning 5 million euros, which it has saved for the election campaign. The state organizations are planning additional campaign activities in their respective states, it was reported. Around 2.9 million euros will be provided for posters and around 260,000 euros for advertising materials. The rest of the campaign expenditure is planned for agencies, events, tours and staff.

The campaign spending limit applies to the last 82 days before the election - i.e. from today's deadline until election day on September 29. The limit on election advertising expenditure, which was initially introduced in 2012 at 7 million euros, has been continuously adjusted for inflation since 2020 - this year it is 8.66 million euros. Those who exceed the cost limit face fines - in extreme cases, if they exceed the limit by more than half, they can be fined up to 200% of the excess amount.

All parties remained within the limit in 2019
In the 2019 National Council elections, all parties remained within the permitted limits. At 6.85 million euros, the ÖVP was just under the then 7 million limit, as the Independent Party Transparency Senate (UPTS) determined following an audit initiated by the Court of Audit due to a suspected overspending.

In contrast, there were massive overruns during the 2017 National Council election campaign, when the ÖVP overspent by almost six million euros, the FPÖ was also well over the limit at 3.7 million euros, while the SPÖ was just over the limit at 400,000 euros.

Stricter party law
According to the 2022 tightening of the Political Parties Act, the parties must present a breakdown of the actual election campaign costs to the Court of Audit six months after the ballot. "Election advertising expenses" include expenses for posters, direct mail, folders, campaign gifts, advertisements and commercials, as well as expenses for advertising and event agencies, additional personnel costs and expenses for personal committees and events. The candidates themselves are allowed to spend up to 15,000 euros on their own election campaign - everything above this is attributable to the party.

In contrast to EU elections, there has been no reimbursement of election campaign costs since the reorganization of party funding in 2012 following the National Council elections.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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