Municipal Party Authorization - Twice as Many Municipal Political Parties Applying for Authorization in 2013 as in 2009

September 12, 2013

Québec City,September 12, 2013– According to a portrait prepared by the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec (DGE) on August 31, 2013, twice as many municipal political parties have applied for authorization this year as in the first eight months of 2009, the year of Québec’s last general municipal elections. More specifically, the DGE has received 74 applications for authorization in 2013, compared to 37 in2009. Six additional applications were filed since the start of September.

The same report shows that 441 people have announced their intention to run as independent candidates in the upcoming November 3 municipal elections and have applied to the Chief Electoral Officer for the required authorization. This figure constitutes a 63% increase over 2009 when 271 applications for authorization were received. Such authorization is granted prior to the submission of a candidate’s nomination paper (which may not be filed earlier than September 20), thereby allowing “electors making the commitment to run as independent candidates” to incur election expenses and sollicit contributions to help finance their campaign. As soon as an elector’s application to run for municipal office is accepted, the elector becomes an authorized independent candidate.

Forming a political party offers financial advantages, because once authorized, a party’s official representative may collect contributions and contract loans year-round, during the entire lifetime of the party. In comparison, authorized independent candidates may set up an election fund only during the election year and have a maximum of one additional year in which to collect contributions in order, as needed, to pay off their debts, which must be reimbursed by the end of this second year.

“Authorization” is the procedure by which a political party is established, and is regulated under the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM). A party leader must submit an application for authorization to the DGE accompanied, among other things, by a list of party members and their names and addresses. The required number of members is stipulated in the AERM, based on the population of the municipality where the party wishes to operate. The length of time it takes to authorize a party depends largely on the speed with which the members of the applicant party respond to the DGE’s request for confirmation of their membership. Experience has shown that average processing time for such authorization is about four weeks.

So far in 2013, the DGE has authorized 61 new political parties. Two applications were refused and 23 are pending approval. To date, there are 162 authorized municipal political parties in Québec. InMontrealalone, there are 13 authorized parties and six more pending authorization.

In 2009, 31 applications for authorization were submitted in just the month of September. It should be noted that the municipal election period starts this September 20 and that a party must have received authorization no later than October 4 inorder for its name and the names of its candidates to appear on election ballots.

Welcome and Accompaniment for Newly Authorized Entities

The publication of such information is an opportunity to remind that the DGE has implemented a welcome and accompaniment program for authorized municipal political parties, and independent candidates in municipalities with over 100 000 inhabitants. As of the receipt of an authorization application, a series of communications are set in motion, including a special “tool box” sent to party administrators and candidates’ representatives. The purpose of this resource is to help them better understand their rights and obligations in the new legal environment in which they will be working. The “box” contains guides, various forms and informational literature, otherwise referred to as “tools”. These are designed to help ensure newly formed political entities and candidates the best possible experience in their new roles. Official representatives, for their part, receive special assistance in view of their role as the main persons responsible for overseeing a party’s or independent candidate’s finances. Also, throughout the year, the DGE sends out online newsletters covering a range of topics of interest to both party representatives and authorized independent candidates. 

Full details concerning the municipal party authorization procedure can be found on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer (DGE) at http://www.electionsquebec.qc.ca/francais/municipal/repaq/demande-d-authorization-parti-politique.php. The same section provides the names of the political parties currently authorized and information on the applications awaiting authorization.

 

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Categories : Municipal, Municipal financing, DGE