Money in politics: political financing regimes influencing public trust (case study for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
The thesis examines the relationship between political financing regime and public trust in political parties in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Political parties require financial sources for electoral campaigns and operational administration. The shortage in financing may cause an interference of the third-parties interested in the decision-making of a political party. Scandals related to the topic of illegal funding of political parties are not rare in the Baltic States that undermine public confidence in political parties. In this sense, public funding is a primary a tool that can generate a balance in political financing regime, provide democratic elections and hence increase trust level in political parties. A hypothesis that public funding generates a higher level of trust in political parties tested in the thesis is true in the case of Estonia while in the case of Latvia and Lithuania other factors that influence trust in political parties are found.