HPEC committee to discuss fining Sabbahi if violation confirmed
YOUM7/Islam Osama

CAIRO: The media control committee of the High Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) will hold a meeting to discuss whether presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi violated election law by announcing his campaign early, Tarek al-Shebl, a member of the HPEC general-secretariat, told the Al Kahera Wal Nas television channel Thursday.

Shebl said the committee is beginning its regular election monitoring meetings on Friday. It informed Sabbahi in writing that he needs to clarify a Wednesday press conference during which he allegedly announced his electoral platform ahead of the official date for electioneering, so that the committee can make a final decision by Saturday, Youm7 reported.

Fining presidential candidates is the only legal penalty available for violating the presidential electioneering date under elections law, Shebl said.

In response, Tareq Negeda, the legal advisor for Sabbahi’s campaign, said the campaign had not been informed about the notification prepared by the HPEC regarding the alleged violation, and initially only learned of it through the media, in a phone call to Al-Hayat TV channel.

“I visited on Thursday the headquarters of the HPEC to deliver a memorandum clarifying the campaign’s position, and I was surprised to find the committee handing me a notice of the violation,” Negeda said.

He also stated that Sabbahi did not announce his platform during the Wednesday press conference, and had promised instead to his supporters to announce it on May 3, in accordance with the presidential electioneering date scheduled by the committee.

Sabbahi and former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi were announced as the only two presidential candidates by the HPEC on April 20.

The first round of voting in the presidential elections is taking place May 26 to 27 in Egypt.

Additional reporting by Samer Hosni.

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