After months of breaching ban, election campaigns start Monday

The official campaign period for the presidential election will begin Monday and last until 21 May, though candidates have broken a campaign ban imposed by the Presidential Election Commission for months.

Judicial sources within the commission said that the campaigns’ finances are monitored by the commission and the Central Auditing Authority through bank accounts opened by the candidates, and that candidates funding their campaigns from outside those accounts would face imprisonment for no less than a year and a fine between LE5,000 and LE20,000, or both.

The same punishments would be applied to candidates spending more than was allowed by the commission.

Candidates receiving funds from abroad face imprisonment between two and five years, in addition to the confiscation of such funds.

The sources pointed out that the main restrictions for the campaigns include the use of religious symbols, exposing the private lives of candidates and their families, undermining citizens' confidence in the election and threatening national unity, punishable by imprisonment for no less than a year and a fine between LE10,000 and LE100,000, or both.

Commission head Farouk Sultan had told Al-Masry Al-Youm last week that as of 30 April, the commission would allow three slots per day available for candidate on the official terrestrial and satellite TV channels of Nile News, Channel 1 and Al-Masriya, in addition to state radio, Radio Misr and regional stations.

He added that candidates would receive 60 free minutes during the first phase of the election, and another similar slot during the runoff phase, divided into a maximum of 15 consecutive minutes at a time. Paid ads would be prohibited.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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