Electoral committee sets cap on campaign spending

The maximum campaign spending allowed for candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections will be LE200,000, the Supreme Elections Committee, headed by Abd al-Aziz Omar, chief justice at Cairo’s High Court of Appeal, announced on Sunday. In the case of candidates campaigning for re-election, the cap on spending will be LE100,000.

A number of politicians called for the monitoring of campaign spending. Ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) MP Hisham Khalil described the set allowances as “sufficient” for any candidate but cautioned that it will be difficult to monitor campaign spending.

Secretary-General of the Wafd Party Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour said monitoring of campaign spending is more important than setting limits, given that a maximum of LE70,000 was set during the previous elections but candidates did not adhere to this limit. He called for a committee to follow up complaints from opposition party candidates and to supervise the erection of banners and conferences, citing France as an example of a democratic country that has such a committee.

Abdel Nour also called for limits to be set on government spending via NDP candidates for projects such as street lighting and street paving, unless these projects are part of the budget plan.

Secretary-General of the pan-Arab Nasserist Party Ahmed Hassan said that businessmen who spend millions on election campaigning and purchasing votes have ruined political life in Egypt. He said citizens' votes have become a commodity that can be bought and sold, which casts doubt on the candidate’s intentions and whether any given candidate is running for parliament to protect himself, or to protect the rights of citizens.

The NDP refused to comment on the electoral committee's decision.

Independent studies suggested that some candidates had spent over LE5 million during 2005 parliamentary elections especially in big cities such Cairo and Alexandria. The Egyptian political system so far lacks a mechanism to monitor political findings.


Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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