Political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) reported 11.3 million BAM in election campaign expenses in their post-election financial reports, and this is the largest amount ever reported to the Central Election Commission (CEC).
However, data from Transparency International in BiH (TI BIH) show that eight parties reported unrealistically low campaign costs, ie at least 1.5 million BAM less than estimated by TI BIH.
Given that TI BIH did not have data on the costs of advertising on portals and the YouTube platform, printing and distribution of advertising material, as well as numerous other types of advertising, the parties had to report much higher amounts because TI BIH’s monitoring included only four components.
Despite that, SNSD reported 1.54 million BAM of total campaign expenses, although TI BIH estimated that this party spent at least 2 million BAM on billboards, media ads, Facebook, and pre-election rallies alone.
Thus, the SNSD reported about 150.000 BAM in expenses for pre-election rallies, and the figure is unrealistic if you take into account that Svetlana Ceca Raznatovic performed only at the final rally of that party in Banja Luka, whose performance, for the sake of comparison, the Olympic Center Jahorina paid 78.000 BAM in 2018.
The SDA presented 1.5 million campaign expenses, which is about 220.000 less than what was determined by the TI BIH monitoring, and significantly lower amounts than the determined were reported by the PDP and SDS, especially for advertising in the media and the organization of pre-election rallies.
Ujedinjena Srpska – US, DEMOS, and Socialistic Party – SP did not show a single BAM of the expenses of pre-election rallies, although TI BIH observers accompanied over 70 rallies of these parties. US and SP also did not report a single BAM of Internet advertising costs, although according to publicly available data they spent significant amounts on Facebook ads. Significantly lower costs than observed were also reported by DNS and HDZ 1990.
Of the other parties, SDP, NIP, SBB, Our Party, and HDZ BIH reported the largest campaign expenses in their reports, and the reported amounts are higher than TI BIH’s estimate, given that TI BiH’s monitoring covered only four segments of campaign expenses. However, when looking at individual items, it is evident that SDP reported lower advertising costs in the media than estimated by the media monitoring agency hired by TI BIH.
The Party for BiH reported 427.000 BAM in election campaign expenses, although only a few days before the elections it denied the TI BIH data that it spent about 420.000 and claimed that this amount was only 106,000 KM. In the end, the party reported a figure that roughly coincides with the TI BiH data, but it is interesting that this figure is significantly higher than the total income that this party has, which amounts to about 299.000 BAM.
Numerous parties could not explain from which sources they financed the campaign! 7 parties did not submit a report to the CEC, while 26 did not show a single BAM of campaign expenses. It is important to point out that the reports were not submitted by BHI Fuad Kasumovic and Platform for Progress – PzP, which, according to TI BIH’s estimation, spent at least 43 and 32 thousand BAM on billboards, Facebook ads, and pre-election rallies.
The parties reported 933 thousand BAM, and publicly available Facebook data show that parties and candidates spent about 491.000 BAM on political advertising on this platform alone. As data for other platforms are not available, it is not possible to check the accuracy of this data.
Also, the problem is the fact that a large number of media companies have not submitted to the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) of BiH the prices of political advertising, which are significantly higher than the commercial ones, according to which the media monitoring agency for the purposes of TI BIH estimates the costs of advertising in the media, stated TI BiH.