There are currently no rules on the financing of political parties and their campaigns. This situation allows people with money to potentially “peddle” their influence, leading to a distortion of our democratic process. There have been several allegations of influence peddling since our Country's independence. A recent public allegation has lead to a potential constitutional crisis relating to Parliamentary Privilege as well as Judicial Reviews that are currently before the courts.
Electoral reform is critical for strengthening the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Successive governments have admitted that electoral reform is a necessity, but once in power have done little to implement same. CSB is committed to help bring about reform that will address this important issue.
Our Electoral Reform Campaign will bring awareness to the need for such reform and help draft and enact a Bahamian version of electoral reform drawing on:
The Draft Model Law on the Registration and Regulation of Political Parties drafted by The Organization of American States (OAS).
The recommendations of the 2012 Electoral Observation Mission Final Report by The Organization of American States (OAS).
The draft recommendations of Citizens' Task Force on Electoral Reform
The four recommendation of the 2012 Electoral Observation Mission Final Report were:
1. To consider adopting a legal framework on the financing of political parties and campaigns, specifically rules that limit campaign spending, that prohibit anonymous and foreign contributions and the establishment of mechanisms to oversee the money coming in and out of campaigns. The Mission also recommends that wider access to public information be provided to citizens regarding the use of campaign funds and the enactment of requirements for parties to disclose such information.
• To establish legal prohibitions for anonymous and foreign donations, as well as limits to private donations and norms to control in-kind donations from the media.
• Through adequate norms, to require political parties to establish mechanisms to register the resources/funds coming in and out of the campaign and to produce consolidated reports.
• To delegate functions of control and supervision of the financing of party campaigns to public organisms such as the Electoral Department and the Director of Audit, and to endow them with the necessary financial and human resources to do this task.
2. To encourage political parties to incorporate more women in both leadership positions within party structures and as candidates for the National Assembly. In particular, the Mission recommends that serious consideration be given to legal mechanisms to guarantee more gender balance within political parties leadership and within the candidate lists presented to voters, including the consideration of positive discrimination mechanisms as well as others to promote female leadership within the parties.
3. To consider the incorporation of mechanisms to enhance the impartiality and independence of the Boundary Drawing Process, such as the potential introduction of standardized technical criteria in the drawing of constituencies and the inclusion of uniform criteria in the selection of Boundary Commissioners. The Mission also recommends to consider allowing more time to carry out the drawing process to promote buy-in from electoral actors and to give access to party representatives to be able to observe the above described process.
4. To urge continued and broader access to the State Broadcasting Corporation for all political parties and candidates, continued updating of the broadcasting regulatory framework and stimulation of the public debate through the media among the parties and civil society organizations.