Egypt's Dar al-Iftaa, the board of muftis, issued a religious decree on Monday that prohibits candidates from buying votes.
The fatwa follows reports of vote-buying in Old Cairo. Eyewitnesses in Hurghada, located in the Red Sea Governorate, also said some individuals have been offering citizens money to vote for specific candidates. They said that the price for one vote stands at LE300.
"Vote-buying is a sort of bribery prohibited by Islam," the fatwa said. It added that a candidate should not use his money to influence voters, and that a candidate's real assets are honesty and the ability to honor promises.
The fatwa also stressed that people brokering voting deals are also sinners, as they are facilitating a religiously banned action.
The decree advised Egyptians to steer away from such behavior and unite to combat it, also stressing that Islam promotes honesty and free will, and gives the right to leadership for the best-qualified.
The the fatwa sanctions campaign funding according to the announced regulations.
Vote buying usually becomes a thriving trade during Egypt's parliamentary elections. Many businessmen rely on the technique in the country, where 40 percent live close to poverty line.
The last parliamentary elections, held in November 2010 under the regime of former leader Hosni Mubarak, saw a big shift in the vote buying phenomenon. Many ministers were involved in the practice. Egyptian news reports revealed that some candidates gave mobile phones and even Viagra to voters in exchange for votes.
Translated from the Arabic Edition