The official website of the Supreme Elections Committee is where you can get the most reliable information about the polling centres and voting procedures, reports Nader Habib
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The number of expatriate Egyptians registered in the People's Assembly elections (The highest 10 participating countries)
The Supreme Elections Committee (SEC) has announced a limit for each candidate, whether independent or running on behalf of a party. The limit was set at LE500,000, to spend on campaigning and advertising for the elections. However, massive election campaigns popping up throughout the country have raised questions concerning candidates' compliance with the LE500,000 ceiling.
Earlier this month, election campaigns kicked off all over Egypt with hundreds of candidates planning to compete in Egypt's first post- revolution parliamentary elections. Candidates and parties raced to post banners and campaign posters throughout the country in the hope of winning the highest number of votes.
Moetaz Mohamed, a founding member of Horreya (Freedom) Party, said that although the SEC has imposed a maximum spending of LE500,000 on election campaigns, there are no mechanisms of inspection and supervision to insure implementation.
"Some candidates and parties are already surpassing the assigned maximum." Mohamed told Al-Ahram Weekly.
Mohamed noted that there are some indirect means of campaigning which cannot be measured or supervised. For instance, during Eid Al-Adha earlier this month, some parties distributed meat and other food products to citizens for free.
Some parties have made complaints in Sharqiya governorate against the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, for crossing the LE500,000 ceiling. "However, no action has yet been taken," Mohamed said.
Ahmed Mustafa, founding member of Al-Mowaten Al-Masri (Egyptian Citizen) Party, believes that setting a maximum limit for spending on election campaigns makes sense. He said that this limit ensures money does not dictate the outcome of the electoral process, because it should not be used as a means to buy voters' voices. But to Mustafa, "the problem of implementation is not new. It is the case in every election."
Mustafa added that the difficulty of monitoring the spending process on election campaigns stems from the fact that much of it is invisible and undeclared. He said some candidates are even going so far as paying voters money. "How can we measure such campaigning methods?" Mustafa asked. "Supervising the spending process effectively is nearly impossible."
Ashraf Hassan of the Masr Al-Haditha (Modern Egypt) Party agrees too. He said that while the SEC has issued the rule, it means very little as many parties have exceeded the maximum limit of spending.
Mustafa argues that the absence of supervision mechanisms on the spending process on campaigns leads to the absence of punishment mechanisms. Nonetheless, he said that the SEC has the authority to impose large penalties on offenders including suspension from the elections.
This year's ceiling of LE500,000 is more than double last year's, which was LE200,000. Increasing the amount this year has stirred grievances among the public who believe that much money is wasted on electoral campaigns while the country is facing hard times. However, both Mustafa and Mohamed stated that raising the ceiling this year is inevitable as prices have increased compared to last year. "Prices of banners and posters have increased and calligraphers are now costing the double," Mohamed said.