The term political money is used in Egypt to describe what candidates pay to buy votes for them to win seats in parliament. It was also used in other countries to describe how certain businessmen and leaders of political parties had access to power, such as Silvio Berlusconi in Italy and others in Latin America.
Although a poor country, the political money used in Egypt for elections reached more than LE10 million.
In fact, this type of spending should not be called political money because it has nothing to do with politics. Perhaps we should call it nonpolitical money, for we are talking about a crisis in the political system and not about political money. We are talking about a failure to develop rules and regulations that fight bribery and corruption. We are talking about a full-scale political crime.
Money is important in politics. Democratic systems and other systems striving for democracy use money in the form of contributions by members of political parties and major companies or businessmen. Yet they have strict rules that regulate the spending of such money on campaigning, although some excesses and deviations may occur.
Obama relied on small and medium size funding sources, which helped widen the base for his supporters to include diverse social strata.
Here in Egypt we have what we call “business parties” that are financed by a single businessman rather than by contributions from members or companies. But those who criticize these type of parties did not come up with an alternative and proper model.
The debate over political money should ask first if this money was a funding source for political parties and electoral campaigns or for bribes, in which case it would be a political crime and not political money.
We need a legal system that fights bribes and vote-buying. Parties do not need funding from a single businessman. They need political money in terms of contributions from thousands of individuals and from corporations.
This is the difference between political money and political crimes.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm