Political parties received €3,566,000 more in state sponsorship for 2018, compared to 2015, a rise of 52%, according to an Audit Office report.
The report found that state sponsorship between 2016-2018 increased due to the presidential elections.
In 2016 parties received €612,667 from the state, however in 2017 the amount increased to €3,177,667.
Also, sponsorship for the wages of parliamentary associates increased from €2,749,000 in 2015 to 3,513,000 in 2016 and 3,750,000 in 2018. According to the Auditor General, the number of parliamentary associates rose from 69 to 101 during that period.
Specifically, DISI had 22 parliamentary associates in 2015 and 28 in 2017. AKEL had 21 parliamentary associates in 2015 and 27 in 2017, while DIKO had 10 parliamentary associates in 2015 and 17 in 2017.
The Audit Office, notes that the budget increase of more than 50% “has not been sufficiently documented and is not in line with the adverse economic conditions that our country is going through.”
Regarding the increase of sponsorship for the presidential elections, it should be noted that no decision was made by the cabinet to determine the amount, the Audit Office added.
The Audit Office report also noted that the state is overspending on MPs wages.
For example, in 2017, MPs were still getting paid during the four months that the Parliament was closed.
In December 31, 2017 the monthly compensation of Cypriot MPs was €6,283,06, including a salary of € 3,506.72, a performance allowance of € 1,751,18 and a lump sum allowance of € 1,025,16 for secretarial services.
It is noted that the allowance for secretarial services is considered to be a retirement pension and as a result, upon leaving office, MPs will receive an increased pension of €513 per month.
At the same time, MPs were also compensated for their travel expenses. While in 2002, the cabinet decided to pay travel expenses only for MPs residing outside Nicosia, a compensation amount of € 580,92 was set in 2005 per month for travel expenses of all MPs, regardless of their place of residence.
According to House Records, the parliament did not meet during the summer season from July 15 to September 8. Also, because of the Christmas holidays and the 2018 presidential elections, the House did not meet from December 13, 2017 until February 16, 2018, barring a special session on 3 January. Throughout this period, the MPs allowances were paid normally.