Harmony, ZZS lead way on political donations in election year

October 6 will see parliamentary elections in Latvia, and ahead of that date political parties are doing their best to raise money to fuel their campaigns.

LTV's De Facto reported April 22 that the current leaders this year in terms of raising money are the opposition Harmony party of Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs and the Greens and Farmers Union of Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Party money and donations - 2018

1 Harmony - €178,475
2 Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) - €129,288
3 Unity - €66,167
4 Latvia's Development - €59,420
5 New Conservative Party is €37,316
6 National Alliance - €18,549
7 Progressives - ​​€16,858
8 Latvian Russian Union - €9,136
9 Honor to serve Riga - €6,520
10 Honor to serve our Latvia - €5,060
11 KPV LV - €4,628
12 Movement For! - €3,426
13 Latvia's Regional Alliance - €2,467
14 Latvia From The Heart - €5

Harmony, which is attempting to paint itself as a Social Democratic party, received around half its income from membership fees and the rest from donations - mainly from its own representatives sitting on Riga city council. Other donations of more than 1,000 euros each came from youth activists employed by the city council.

Several Saeima deputies also chipped in with 2,000 euros each. Janis Urbanovičs, one of Harmony's leaders in parliament said: "It would be very funny, strange and shameful to address businessmen [in search of donations] without demonstrating that the people asking were themselves donating."

Similarly, most of the largest donations to ZZS came from prominent party members at local or national level. Advisers to ZZS ministers at the ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Transport also made substantial donations.

Third placed Unity attracted two large donations from businessmen but for the rest displayed a similar pattern as other parties with donations coming largely from within senior party ranks. MEPs and MPs were to the fore and European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis also chipped in with a 2500 euro donation from his generous Brussels salary.  

In contrast, whoever stuffed 5 euros into the collecting box for the Latvia From The Heart party would probably be surprised to learn they are the party's main donor for 2018. It represents a remarkable turnaround from 2014 when the party marshalled half a million euros to fight its first campaign, reported LTV.

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