CAIRO: The High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) Sunday threw out a complaint filed against presidential candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi alleging his campaign violated election laws by distributing free energy-saving light bulbs to the poor.
HPEC Secretary General Abdel Aziz Salman said in a statement HPEC decided to throw out the case because after ending its investigations, there was no evidence the candidate ordered the distribution of the bulbs personally.
Sisi’s campaign also investigated the complaint and asked those who distributed the bulbs to stop according to HPEC. “Sisi’s representatives have expressed their keenness to abide by the law, saying that he (Sisi) knows his limits and cannot exceed them,” Salman said.
During an interview on the Dream channel, Salman also called on people who have clear evidence of any electoral violation to pass it on to the committee.
“The law prohibits the distribution of electoral gifts, bribes or whatever falls under this category that urge citizens to vote for a particular candidate,” Salman said in a press statement on May 18.
The presidential election law sets a penalty of at least one year imprisonment, a 1,000 EGP ($140.20) fine, or a combination of the two penalties for such a violation, judicial sources inside HPEC told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
An initiative to distribute energy-saving light bulbs throughout Egypt’s governorates was launched on May 17 by Sisi’s presidential campaign. The bulbs, part of Sisi’s campaign to encourage responsible energy consumption, were given away in the areas of Al-Hussein, Al-Azhar, Sayeda Zeinab, Warraq and Imbaba, according to Sisi’s official campaign page on Facebook.
Changing old lamps with new energy-saving bulbs in Egyptian households would save 4,000-megawatts, in turn saving millions in fuel that could be put toward other subsidies in the state’s general budget, Sisi said in a television interview with CBC and ONTV channels.
HPEC also dismissed an alleged electoral violation by presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi May 4 after he submitted a complaint. He announced his electoral platform three days prior to the campaign period designated by HPEC from May 3-23.
Although a violation, HPEC dismissed it because it was committed in “equivocal timing” after Sabbahi was approved as a presidential candidate, which might have made him believe he was entitled to make his platform announcement. HPEC also accepted Sabbahi’s apology and urged all parties to respect the laws governing electoral campaigns.