In an interview with Aswat Masriya news website on Monday, Tarek Nour, chief advertising advisor for the official campaign of presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, said LE12 million has been spent so far on advertising to promote the ex-minister of defence in the upcoming polls.
Nour, a pioneer of advertising in Egypt who is also the general coordinator of El-Sisi’s campaign, says LE6 million has been spent on press conferences, with the remaining LE6 million used in TV and radio ads as well as posters and billboards.
He added that companies usually lower their prices when they are told the advertising is for El-Sisi’s campaign.
According to the newly-amended presidential elections law, candidates are allowed to spend a maximum of LE20 million for campaigning during the first round, in comparison to a cap of only LE10 million during the 2012 elections.
In the case of a run-off campaign, spending will be limited to LE5 million, instead of LE2 million.
While Nour sees the allowed LE20 million as very “little”, he says it will not be an obstacle given his candidate’s overwhelming popularity, adding that El-Sisi’s campaign mainly aims to remind the public of the importance of voting.
He also claimed that the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood will be campaigning behind El-Sisi's only rival, the Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.
The claim was vehemently denied by the campaign for Sabahi, known to be a staunch opponent of the Islamist group.
The Brotherhood has not announced its support for Sabahi – or any other official after the removal of the group's president Mohamed Morsi last July – refusing to acknowledge the interim authorities' legitimacy.
"El-Sisi has asked us not to squander money and to keep spending as low as possible," said Nour, adding that additional billboards are hung by supporters of the presidential candidate and not by the official campaign.
He also said that the campaign has hired Tarek Nour Communications – owned by Nour himself – to run the advertising component.
Meanwhile, Hossam Moenes, spokesman of Sabahi’s campaign, said that there had been several offers by advertising agencies to manage Sabahi’s campaign but that they had decided to rely on volunteers, "as they did during the 2012 elections, because these companies demand a lot of money, more than what we can afford".
Regarding the fact that El-Sisi’s campaign has not yet revealed its electoral programme, Nour said that "El-Sisi has a huge programme" but that he isn't able to talk about it "because it's heavy with details and will need a year for it to be explained to citizens".
Nour added that the campaign is eyeing at least 20 to 25 million votes and that it's relying heavily on women “because of their love for El-Sisi" and their "bravery" shown in participating in last January's constitutional referendum.
Egypt’s first presidential elections following Morsi’s ouster will take place on 26-27 May.