Aspects of Party Finance and
The concept of party varies widely from north to south, from authoritarian to democratic regimes and from emerging to established democracies. But whatever form political organization takes, there is a common problem: how to find sufficient financial resources to fund the activities the political organizations wish to pursue. Competition between political parties divided on ideological, economic, social, factional or ethnic lines depends on finance, drives up the costs of campaigning and intensifies the search for additional or new income streams.
Money buys the access, favours, skills, goods and services that are essential to effective party activity. As Alexander notes, 'money is instrumental, and its importance lies in the ways it is used by people to try to gain influence, to convert into other resources, or to use in combination with other resources to achieve political power.' 1 Money compensates for a lack of volunteers and serves, in some societies, as a surrogate for individual commitment. In short, money is a transferable and convertible resource which helps mobilize support for, and secures influence with, political parties.
The role of money in politics, especially in funding political parties, has attracted much adverse attention in the past 20 years. Many countries have experienced major scandals involving political parties and the nature, sources and consequences of their financial support. The reform impulse is readily observed around the globe and a wide variety of reforms in political finance have been advocated. Attempts to regulate party finance are not new but the plethora of scandals has focused public and media attention and thereby encouraged political