The relationship between money and politics is inevitable, widespread and probably endless. In this regard, such a relationship is logical given the fact that political parties need money to participate in politics and maintain cohesion among the party members. The position of holding the power in the society that is given to the political parties, demands also a certain extent of responsibility and accountability towards its constituency (Carey & Reynolds, 2007). Therefore, the way in which political finances affect the relationship of political parties, and their members, constituents and the general public is essential for the quality of democracy functioning (Burnell, 1998). As such, political finances sustain and enhance the political debate and stimulate the internal democracy within the party.
In this context, the political parties in Macedonia follow the well-known pattern between money and politics - access to political power facilitates access to money, and access to money buys political influence. Frequently, governing parties use the administrative resources—state powers and funds in “rewarding allies” and “punishing opponents”. Until now, the political battle in Macedonia is between the two biggest Macedonian and Albanian parties. The other small parties (including the Roma ones) are the “outside players”, usually joining the coalition government. It follows that the small political parties are just illustrative marionettes of the bigger parties, even though they can be a game changer during the elections (local or presidential). Although the small political parties manifest monopolistic power within the party (all the power is in the arms of the leader) they do not know to use their power or are limited in practicing it within the coalition government.
Regarding the role and responsibility of the Roma parties in the current coalition government in Macedonia, this analysis indicates the imbalance between the exercises of their political power given the financial opportunities. In other words, this means that Roma political parties take the legitimacy from the Roma electorate while the roles and responsibilities are delegated by the coalition parties in the government. Hence, it appears that the "greater responsibility" of Roma political parties and the weak financial power results in reduced credibility in the Roma community. In the case of the Roma political parties, promises are determined by the major coalition partners and serve their interests. These developments point out that Roma political parties have post – election agreements for sharing the financial "cake” after the election. However, typically the position of political parties is determined from the costs-benefit logic, calculation the future benefits (power, authority, positions in public administration, public policies) with their costs (administration, political campaigns)
Therefore, in this analysis we argue that party financing has a crucial role in the internal democratization of the Roma political parties and contributes to better practice of their power in the coalition government. Furthermore, this analysis provides an analytical framework through which party finance can be analyzed and propose strategies for financing the Roma political parties.
By introducing the pluralism in the Republic of Macedonia, Roma gained the right to take part and to contribute for democratic development in the political and legal system of the state. The practice of the democratic culture among the Roma community does not significantly differ from the overall democratic and political environment in the country. Every democratic country is undergoing a process of implementation of conditions such as rule of law, high level of civil and political liberties, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom to form and join organizations. After 20 years of practicing pluralism in the country, the development of the political culture of Roma is presented in two periods – before the Ohrid Framework Agreement and after the Ohrid Framework Agreement. According to the results and the behavior of Roma political parties, it is evident that the parties failed optimally to utilize the given opportunities initiated by the principles of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
The modifications of the Constitution in 2001 preloaded new principles with the Framework Agreement, which was a balance in the redefinition of the constituent elements of the state. This included major communities and the Roma community as well. This act represents an opportunity for the Roma political élite and at the same time commitment to support the multi-ethnic character of the state. In the period from 1990 to 1998, the Roma community in Macedonia formed three political parties represented by one Member of Parliament and lack of institutional representation. While in the period from 2002 to 2006 there were five more parties registered. This process was counterproductive for the Roma community due to the division of the Roma electorate instead of consolidation derived from the new constitutional changes. The Roma political parties entered the process of fragmentation of the electorate that further reduced the value and impact of the voice of the Roma community.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the political competition of Roma political parties in the period from 1991 to 2013 by using the behavioral theory by Kaare Strom. Furthermore, it explains how Roma political parties emerged and what the benefits of the Ohrid Framework Agreement were. The concluding remarks are presented at the very end of this paper.