Political powers demand strict control on funding presidential campaigns
The High Presidential Elections Commission logo
By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP

CAIRO: Several political parties demanded Sunday that the High Presidential Elections Commission impose strict control on presidential campaign funding, which is not supposed to exceed 20 million EGP (U.S. $2.87 million.)

Candidates may receive monetary donations from Egyptians only, aside from their own personal capital, according to the presidential elections law issued on March 8.

Donations from one person should not exceed two percent of the maximum campaign funding, set at 20 million EGP for the first round of elections and five million EGP during the possible runoff.

The campaigns’ funding is monitored by a committee formed of members High Presidential Elections Commission, the Official Gazette reported Saturday.

The secretary assistant of Wafd Party Hossam al-Kholy said the  High Presidential Elections Commission exerts efforts to monitor spending of campaigns, on for example television interviews, banners and mass conferences.

Kholy recognized a flaw in the regulations on funding, as presidential candidates cannot be held accountable when other figures spend large sums of money to support their campaign. He added that there should be severe punishments in case of financial violations.

The Popular Coalition Party demanded the commission to effectively monitor the campaigns’ funding, adding that he doesn’t expect problems with funding, party leader Abdel Ghafar Shokr told Youm7 on Sunday.

He explained that the presence of only two candidates in the presidential race would ensure easy monitoring and avoid wasting money.

Mina Haleem, treasurer of Dostour Party, asked the candidates to present a notice to the commission with the principles of their electoral campaign as well as assigning a financial director for the campaign to be responsible for donations in a Sunday press statement.

Haleem said the party demands the candidates open a bank account with the name of the campaign in one of the state’s banks. The bank should inform the campaign with the bank number and all its transactions, to avoid personal gaining of the candidates.

The commission should assign a financial monitor from the Central Auditing Organization for each presidential campaign. In case of violations, these monitors should have the right to refer the violations to the public prosecution, Haleem added.

Shehab Wagih, spokesperson of the Free Egyptians Party, told Youm7 on Sunday that he demands clear mechanisms to monitor the candidate’s funds, according to the 20 million EGP limit the committee set.

Wagih also suggested candidates to open a separate bank account to receive different donations, under the supervision of the Central Auditing Organization, and to apply the presidential electoral law in case of violations.

Hamdeen Sabbahi and former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi are the only candidates who have officially announced their bids for the presidency.

On March 4, the Sabbahi presidential campaign launched an online initiative to collect endorsements for his candidacy, according to its official Facebook page.

Sisi announced he would run for president after resigning as minister of defense on Wednesday on state TV following a meeting of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, attended by interim President Adly Mansour.

The commission announced Sunday that registration for presidential candidates will begin on Monday, the election process begins May 15 for expats, and the first round of presidential elections is to be held May 26 and 27. The results are to be announced June 5, and another round will be held June 16.

“The commission will receive candidacy applications for 21 days, in which presidential candidates must submit their applications for candidacy,” a source told Youm7 on March 28.

Additionally reported by Iman Ali.

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