Research undertaken in Albania, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia and Ukraine into the cost of legislative politics has highlighted several trends that transcend borders and political systems:
Across the four countries the increasing influence of business, both in financing and engaging directly in politics, was noted as a key driver of the cost of politics.
Access to radio, television and newspapers is also expensive during election campaigns. This can limit small parties’ ability to have their ideas heard by prospective voters.
Physical engagement with voters, through campaign rallies for example, are another significant outlay for political aspirants.
Whilst state funding for political parties is in existence, except in Ukraine, candidates regularly have to supplement that support from personal savings or loans to run for elected office.
Legislation to monitor and limit campaign financing is in place across the region, but the capacity and autonomy of oversight bodies remains questionable and means that what parties or candidates official report is rarely a reflection of reality.