Subsidizing political parties

Certain revolution youth coalitions requested the ruling military council to subsidize political parties.

This issue should be discussed in a completely new manner after the revolution.

First, we need to rid ourselves of the so-called “subsidies culture” that prevailed during the Mubarak era, when the government provided financial aid for parties to spend on Hajj trips for its members, except for when Safwat al-Sherif ordered them to spend it on campaigns praising the president and his wisdom.

Other subsidies came from the private sector, when certain politically untalented businessmen controlled parties to serve their personal interests merely because they had the money to do so.

The relationship between money and politics, just as that between money and the press, must be based on preserving the autonomy of both and their ability to deliver; otherwise, they would only produce yes-men.

Political parties must derive their financial strength from members’ subscriptions, for relying on government or private subsidies begets ineptitude, while self-financing breeds visions and initiatives implemented by party members.

Subsidies can be limited to license fees, publishing the names of founding members in the official newspaper (which costs no more than five thousand pounds), reducing certain taxes, and the like, but past forms of subsidies should no longer be acceptable.

Egypt needs strong parties that rely on members’ efforts and political abilities, not financial influence.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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