This paper aims to understand the correlation between political party funding and women’s political participation, based on the premise that campaign financing has a direct impact on women’s electability for legislative seats. Given the challenges that women candidates for MPs in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo face in the electoral process, specifically due to the lack of funding for the election campaign, this analysis attempts to shed light on the practices of political entities in Kosovo, in terms of gender distribution of party funds dedicated to election campaigns.
By using desk research, namely the analysis of the legal framework that governs the issues of political entity and election campaign financing, as well as the primary survey conducted with women candidates for MPs from six political entities in Kosovo in the last seven legislatures of the Assembly – respectively women candidates from Self-Determination Movement, Democratic League of Kosovo, Democratic Party of Kosovo, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Social Democratic Party, and Social Democratic Initiative, as well as with financial officers of these political entities, the paper analyzes the cost of the election campaign and the level of support that political entities give to candidates on candidates’ lists in general, and women candidates in particular. Specifically, given the unsatisfactory level of representation of women MPs in the Assembly of Kosovo, the report seeks to understand whether the lack of adequate financial support for the election campaign of women candidates for MPs affects their electability to parliamentary seats.
The main findings from the interviews with women candidates for MPs, as well as financial officers from the political entities mentioned in this report, are as follows:
- 50% of women respondents indicate that the financial cost of conducting the election campaign for parliamentary elections ranges between 2000 to 5000 Euros per candidate.
- The election campaigns of 50% of the women respondents are funded from their own funds, and 50% of the women respondents claim that their election costs are covered in combination of their own funds and funds from political entities.
- 75% of women respondents do not receive any financial coverage for vehicle fuel during campaign trips, and only 25% of women have access to political entities’ vehicles for meetings during the election campaign.
- Only 38% of women respondents have access to volunteers and logistical assistance of their political entities, while organizing and coordinating electoral activities.
- 50% of women respondents pay out of pocket for public spaces used for meetings and electoral rallies with citizens.
- 75% of women respondents feel discriminated against within political entities in the process of allocation of human and financial resources during the election campaign.
- 50% of women respondents consider that the internal regulation of their political entities regarding the media appearances of candidates during the campaign offers somewhat equal opportunities to men and women candidates, while 13% consider that the regulation of the entities they belong to is discriminatory against women to a large extent.
- 100% of women respondents consider that the support of political entities regarding media appearances plays a role in their electability as MPs.
- Only 13% of women respondents find that the absence of women candidates in the media does not play a role in their electability as MPs.
- Only 1 in 4 women respondents (25%) state that within their political entities there is transparency in the management of financial resources, by providing full access to financial management.
- Only 25% of women respondents say that women’s issues are fundamental for their entities and that women are part of the whole process of managing and allocating financial resources during the election campaign.
- None of the political entities interviewed had internal regulations on special funds to support the election campaign of women candidates.
Political entities consider that they do not have discriminatory practices against women candidates in elections, including the allocation of funds and human resources during a campaign.